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Sunday, July 31, 2005

Best Day Ever At the Market

Loads of business yesterday at the Arlington Market. Bested my best previous day by a considerable margin, I am grateful to report. Thank God! Especially since I missed the previous week being out of town, it was good to make enough for rent... Had several repeat customers (who gushed about how beautiful my jewelry is), and a young husband who rushed up asking if I remembered what necklace his wife had tried on three weeks ago, in the August birthstone, more than one strand? Ah, that one--thankfully I had only one piece matching his description, and he remembered the exact price. A $63 sale right there! Blessings on attentive husbands.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Sorry For Not Answering the Phone...

But my hands were covered with clay. Yes, I was in the studio over at the local community center, where my potter-friend Hannah teaches, making a floral-style mobile and more face-tiles (this time, I'll use their glazes, and their kilns, which doesn't cost anything after the initial studio fee). I've been translating in the daytime, with breaks for making earrings and running books I've sold on Amazon to the post office.

Oh, I heard a funny cat story at Bible Study the other night...A couple of years ago, a sibling of one of the ladies was moving with his family from their Midwestern hometown out of state, and they decided to leave their cat with her parents until they got settled into their new home and could reclaim it. It was an orange striped cat, which they told her parents could stay outside, roaming around on their many acres, with occasional supplements of cat chow. Well, the cat developed a fierce independent streak, and after several weeks disappeared altogether, much to the silent concern of the parents who could see all sorts of mournful grandchildren-sans-cat scenarios. A couple of weeks after the disappearance, a somewhat larger but similarly-orange-striped cat appeared on the parental doorstep, a congenial feline with a winning social personality. Sensing opportunity purring in their arms, the parents dispatched this cat in lieu of the other, not mentioning the substitution. It was accepted as the original--the sibling (who has a neurotic streak) was none the wiser, nor were his wife and children, who expressed pleasure at being reunited with their pet. When, during one of her visits to her nieces and nephews, the lady in my Bible Study casually remarked on how friendly the cat was, she was told that he had "always been like that." So, she held her peace. Incidentally, after the friendly cat moved in with his new family, the original orange creature reappeared on the parents' property--he refused to be caught, or even touched, and obviously preferred the wild life to domestic existence.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Back from RI

Had a good time for the weekend. Small niece is adorable. Back to translating! Oh, and Silverman has messed up my grade--what he finally turned into the registrar listed me as a "B" instead of a "B+"--noticing this may be picayune, but for my GPA the difference is rather severe, given grade inflation at Georgetown, where a "B+" is morally equivalent to a "C".

Friday, July 22, 2005

Dream

I had an awful dream--er, I would say last night, but I know from subsequent information that it was at least noon today--about wasps. I dreamed there was this huge wasps' nest in my grandparent's front yard, which we used a sort of souped-up Batmobile/Hummer to pull over, and all these little larval wasps came out, and my mother thought they were kind of cute, so she brought them inside, and was helping them out of their cocoons, and I knew this was asking for trouble, that they would quickly dry out and become evil death wasps, and so I frantically wrapped them in paper towels and bagged them in plastic and stomped on them, but they began to buzz louder and louder, and tore their way through the plastic bags and started attacking the house. It was terrible. Then I woke up and discovered that it was 2PM and my mother had called and left a nag on my cell phone, telling me that I was a lazy bum and I ought to have been up hours ago helping my sister with my little niece.

I'm Nerdier Than Paxifist!

I am nerdier than 64% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Studying to be Grownup

During the summer my Bible Study has become more of a prayer time, with a random assortment of ladies (we're never in town all ten of us at once these days) meeting to share their concerns in their lives before we quiet down for a while and pray. Last night was no exception--there were four of us, including our newly-married member (she and her husband are both in their late 30s, the first marriage for both), and we settled down just after 7 to vent and then distill the venting into discrete bits we wanted our sisters to be praying for.

I am so grateful for these ladies. They are family. I get so isolated, otherwise: I live in DC, where Wayfollowers are thought to be gullible, hypocritical and stupid, and I live and work with non-Christians, who (beyond the whole "values" difference) mostly aren't hearts-friends...it's kind of hard to open up totally to somebody that doesn't "get" the whole Chief End of Man thing--you know, that our purpose is to Glorify God and Enjoy Him Forever--especially when you are having problems with the Seven Deadlies. Not Deadlines--I've got problems with those too, of course--Deadlies, as in sins. Pride--hoo boy! Avarice, well. Lust, lemme tell you.

Ok, I was on the way to the aforementioned study, and I drove out of my neighborhood past a basketball court, where a bunch of local guys were playing pickup games. I ran my eye over the selection, and spotted one particularly tasty morsel, a blond in a wifebeater (that's white tanktop to the sartorially uninformed), with arms like the wheel-drivers on a steam locomotive, they were so perfectly muscular. I was practically salivating. Then I recognized the guy. Nate, my roommate. Ooops. I told the ladies about this (probably due to their prayers, he wasn't home last night or this one)--and one was anxious to correct my vocabulary: "housemate, not roommate, you don't share a room." Yes, I should be more clear.

I told them that I was tired of actually knowing eligible (i.e. Christian unmarried guys with brains and good physiques) people and not getting asked out (like the guys at the C.S. Lewis discussion group, who are totally oblivious to the fact that I am going gray, for crying out loud, and won't be around forever, and that my fertility level is dropping through the floor...)--it's like I have "Don't ever ask this girl out, even for a casual lunch" tattooed in ink visible only to males on my forehead. I mean, sheesh, the only person who's wanted to date me in the past seven (count 'em, seven--that was 1998 the last time I went out regularly with someone, folks!) years was an elderly Russian artist who didn't speak any English who I met at the Library of Congress. Ahem. Actually, he was a good conversationalist, but Sean Connery he was not.

I think oftentimes I would be a whole lot more content with being single in my 30s if I had my own house and a cat. That way, I could read and hug a nice soft critter which would purr whenever I started feeling lonely. And too, I worry: am I really that appropriately mature? I mean, would I be good wife material if the right guy came along? I often have a very superficial attitude towards unattached eligible members of the opposite sex in extra-church situations, whereas I can really can be friends with and feel comfortable around men who are ineligible (married and/or unattractive and/or way too old)--with these guys I can totally relate, look them in the eye, behave like a reasonable soul. When I like somebody, I often clam up, or start talking a mile a minute like a nut, and get terribly self-conscious.

While this raft of insecurities was floating through my head, the Bible Study ladies were talking about how much they enjoyed being adults (we were talking about the contradictions of wanting children by that point, and they were saying that it was tough to relate to the young on a regular basis), and I was thinking that--#1, it was wierd to think how many people today try to avoid adulthood for as long as possible, like it was some sort of disease; #2, I want to behave, and think like an adult, too. A mature Christian adult. And those are the sorts of people who write really good children's literature like The Narnia Tales. Oh, for a pure heart! And, too, come to think of it, C.S. Lewis was a good illustration of not handing God a timetable for romance or a platter of qualities the potential beloved must possess, or that you yourself must have in order to delight your beloved...would Lewis have thought that he would eventually have a happy (though short, given deadly cancer) marriage to an American Jewish New Yorker ex-communist? And yet Joy Davidman, that messianic Wayfollower and poet, was obviously a gift from heaven to the old Anglican bachelor Oxford don.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Aims and Error

Late last night I finished the online applications for two government agencies henceforth to be known as the Adolescent Rumor Mill (ARM) and the Politicians' Intrinsic Trust (PIT). Considering that the ARM app. only had three slots for jobs held by the candidate, and very little for explaining the wondrous qualities you could bring to bear on their behalf, it's a wonder they are able to select anybody. Maybe that's the point--they really don't want to hire anyone from the public, but they have to seem legit and "open" to meet federal law. The PIT application was a bit more extensive, question-wise, and vaguer (if that's a word) about the characteristics they were looking for in candidates (ARM was direct about wanting Middle East and Far East experts). Don't call us, we'll call you, however, was the theme for both. PIT I applied to years ago, and other than a brief acknowledgement of their having gotten my info, I never heard a word.

Speaking of frustration, I am horrified to report a serious typo in my MacArthur Daily Bible. I was tootling along, reading my selection from the Old Testament when I ran across one of the Chronicle kings as having been born before his father was, if you did the (very simple) math. Hmm, I thought, and cross-checked this with another Bible. Lo, the MacArthur edition was off by twenty years. This is the Bible folks--the inerrantly given Word of God. Part of a publisher's responsibility is to make sure stupid transcription errors like this don't appear. To me, this is a worse problem than the so-called "Wicked" Bible of the 1600s (which in the Ten Commandments left out the "not" in the statement "Thou shalt not commit adultery"), since everybody knew what the original said and where the copy had erred. This age error was one of those that could scuttle somebody's trust in the reliability of the book as an accurate record of plain ol' historical events. I'm a Christian and by golly I'm feeling uncomfortable about this version myself, given this problem--who knows what other stuff they screwed up?

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Storm and Stains

The fireflies likely thought they were competing against monstrous competition when they emerged in the wake of the thunderstorm. The air had cooled in the torrential downpour, and with the waning fury of the crashing, weeping skies the life which had been muted on the ground again resumed while the heavens still flickered silently.

A burst of fireflies, glowing all together in a thin cloud like a miniature remnant of a firework, appeared over a car in the driveway, and their fluorescent light was answered all around the yard and across the street, which was still running wet with rain.

The gutter pipe gurgled, and a “temp, temp, temp” dripped from the eaves onto a piece of metal next to the house. A lone man crossed to the sidewalk in front of my house, and the Doberman on the porch of the house opposite barked for the first time in an hour—he’d probably been cowering under the onslaught of the thunder, but now that was gone he could exert his sense of terrestrial superiority.

A plane droned up from the downtown airport—if they were resuming flights, the worst must truly be over. But then the rain picked up, and I took the plastic stool I’d been using to keep my seat dry on the stoop and went back into the stuffy indoors.

Nate, who had earlier announced himself thoroughly angry over the inability of “anyone to load the dishwasher” (one reason for my decision to enjoy the postdiluvian weather) was immersed in a crossword at the kitchen table. Since the electricity was out, he’d lit five post candles from our eclectic assortment, and a stick of incense from his own stash, and was thus suffused in candlelight and choking scent when I returned.

His coffee paraphernalia is all over the kitchen. He’s in a state of high moral indignation right now because people don’t put their plates, cups and silverware in the washer, yet the do-dads and gewgaws he uses to make espresso every day are always interfering with the smoothness of this operation. All dishes must be rinsed before they are put in the washer, since the machine, although new, is not a superior model. And who has the half-dozen bits of his coffee machine in the sink _all the time_? Nate. I have no idea how to react to this hypocrisy, other than vow henceforth to stack the coffee stuff on the side of the sink and get on with the business of cleaning up.

After Nate went to bed, I had several necessary cleanups to perform--get the wax out of the carpet (I tried moving the candles he'd been using before they'd cooled and, naturally, spilled one) and get the red wine stain out of the carpet (don't drink bourdeaux in the dark--you'll miss the coffee table when you try to set the glass down). Thankfully, the commercial carpet cleaner worked as advertised, and I got most of the wax out using an iron and a paper bag. I'll vacuum tomorrow and see if that's sufficient. I HATE CARPET!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Emergency--Sick Brother

Bob's in the hospital with apparent appendicitis. Waiting on word from home to see whether emergency surgery is required. Please pray!

Monday, July 11, 2005

Racist Illiberal Liberals

This evening I heard a white "progressive" arguing on a Washington public radio station that there were 200 parcels of land in downtown that could be profitably redeveloped, and if "just two or three people decided they didn't want to sell, even if they were offered twice the value of their land, they could ruin the whole development project." Um, DC is 80-90% black, and many poor. So what he was really saying is, if we tried to remove nonwealthy minorities from potentially chic yuppie areas of the nation's capital, and two or three families wanted to hang on to their property--which has been in their family for generations--we would be justified in condemning their land, thanks to the recent Supreme Court decision, and taking it from them!

Why is not a soul in the supposedly sensitive liberal media talking about the definitely racist implications of this criminally stupid ruling? The folks in DC are already disenfranchised (viz their representation in Congress)--now affluent developers have received a carte blanche to deny them their right to maintain and dispose of their private property as they see fit! Please pray that the next Supreme Court justice(s) will be the sort(s) of "radical conservative(s)" who stand(s) up for the rights of the poor, and espouse(s) what is right over what is convenient and lucrative.

My Response to Paul Baxter's Book Questionnaire

Paul Baxter of Every Blog Needs a Title was so kind as to “tag” me this morning along with a couple of other fine folks to answer a couple of questions regarding my book choices. His answers were far more erudite that mine will be, but here goes…

How many books do I own?

Well, this is rather hard to estimate, considering my books are spread out across three general categories in two different states (VA and GA), but I’ll give it a go. In my room up here in the DC area, I have over two hundred books stuffed into every available nook and cranny, along with piles of paper, clothes, jewelry components and CDs, not to mention china, cardboard boxes and the occasional pair of shoes. Down in GA, I’ve got about another 200 books boxed in my closets, waiting for me to have a proper dwelling with bookcases in which to display them. And then there are uncounted others scattered in house-wide alongside my parents’ couple of thousand books—volumes on history and art that I couldn’t stand to have tucked away in the dark, and would rather yield to general consumption than have isolated in the bottom of some inaccessible storage container.

What’s the last book I bought?

Got to run to check ABE and Amazon to find out…OK, I’m back. Actually, there were two, bought simultaneously: a MacArthur Daily Bible (a Bible divvied up into daily digestible portions from the Old and New Testaments, Psalms and Proverbs, with a devotional for each day by John MacArthur) and Mary Calhoun’s Henry the Sailor Cat, which is one of the continuing adventures of Henry the Siamese, who is a very smart and talkative feline who has all sorts of outdoor escapades (it’s a children’s book with lovely illustrations).

What’s the last book I read?

Besides the last two Harry Potter books—borrowed from Leah and Aaron (thanks, guys!) which I read two weeks ago, and James Herriot’s All Creatures Great and Small and C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (both of which I have almost memorized and each of which I read for the umpteenth time when I was over at the aforementioned friends’ house last weekend returning the Rowling books), and Robin McKinley’s Spindle’s End, which I reread a day or two ago...--
about two months back I read the terrific Night Witches by Bruce Myles, a history of the Soviet women pilots who fought in World War II. It gets the adrenaline pumping. Especially as a woman and a former student pilot (I have 50 hours in single-engine Cessnas and a little over 150 takeoffs and landings), I appreciated the ability of girls like me to go out with flimsy aircraft, machine guns and bombs, and kick some serious Nazi teehiney. Even the mechanics in the female flyers’ outfits were girls—and like the Tuskeegee Airmen did on the American side, all the women proved their ability to a skeptical society on their own. Of course, they were used for propaganda purposes, but they did a solid job, too (like the highly-decorated old lady tank commander who was being interviewed on Russian TV the other day by a journalist young enough to be her grandson…but that’s another story).

What are the five books that mean the most to me?

Like Paul Baxter, I put the Bible within its own special long-term, daily-life-changing category. Unlike Paul, my five un-divinely-inspired favorites are for the most part creative categories (even the history is written with much of the same flair) by particular authors, not serious individual philosophical tomes, but they are dear to my heart for all that…

James Herriot’s All Creature’s Great and Small series. Herriot (whose real name was Alf Wight) worked as a veterinarian in Yorkshire from the 1930s until he died in 1995 or 1996 of prostate cancer. He first published his stories of life with his patients and their owners and his vet colleagues in the 1970s, basing them on his diary-keeping. I still chuckle over many of his chapters (most in his books can stand alone, though together they are a charming, if indirect, autobiography)—others remain heartrending. He was an incisive observer of character, both human and animal, with a good ear for dialect and a good eye for the beauties of the Dales countryside he loved.

Robin McKinley’s fantasy: The Blue Sword, The Hero and the Crown, Sunshine, Spindle’s End, Beauty—others from her repertoire are less good, though still superior to much of the original fantasy and old-fairy-tales-retold tripe which stuff bookstores these days. I have discovered over the years that I am naturally drawn to books where women use their brains—and even sometimes their brawn—to be heroes of their nation and rescuers of their friends. McKinley’s fiction doesn’t necessarily feature the prettiest, the smartest, the most popular—her female characters are practical, they like getting their hands dirty and doing things for themselves. This I like.

Benson Bobrick’s histories: Professor Bobrick is the sort of historian I would like to be (only without the beard). He writes about totally disparate topics—from subways (Labyrinths of Iron) to Siberia (East of the Sun), from the English Reformation (Wide as the Waters) to the American Revolution (Angel in the Whirlwind)—and his books are page-turners, funny and ferocious in their depiction of the human condition. I don’t know Dr. Bobrick’s spiritual condition, but when reading about how we got our English Bible, and how the thirteen colonies broke away from their British masters, I was impressed at how clearly I could seen the hand of God in the history of these events, although that was never explicitly discussed as any sort of academic theory.

C.S. Lewis’ The Narnia Tales. My Intervarsity Graduate Christian Fellowship is getting together this summer on Monday evenings to discuss the seven tales—tonight we are talking about The Silver Chair. The Horse and His Boy has been my favorite since childhood, when my father read all of them (along with Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer--ooo, two more favorites!) to me and my siblings (thanks Daddy!!) but TSC runs a close second. Man, if I could learn to right like Lewis (or any of the other Inklings, for that matter)…

Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon (I’m just now reading the Baroque Cycle prequels, so I don’t know whether I’ll like them as much). Paul Baxter himself is responsible for introducing me to Stephenson—I’d just tried the much-lauded Snow Crash and found it little to my taste (why oh why must some of my favorite authors—and this includes McKinley—include gratuitous sex scenes, graphic or no, in otherwise good and savory material?), but Cryptonomicon made me an all-out Stephenson fan. It’s got spies, and cryptology, and World War II, and Silicone Valley geniuses, and college professors, and drugs, and Catholicism, and homo- and heterosexuality, and pipe organs, and stolen gold, and information theory, and mystery, and wisdom teeth extraction all rolled into one glorious symphonic cacophony with Stephenson pulling out all the stops in a bone-jarring delicious treatment of international intrigue.

And, I’ll add my own bonus question, just for fun…What is the rarest, oldest, or just plain oddest book in your collection?

I actually have several books that fall into this category…

Two are those with which I no longer wholly agree, given the lack of humility and grace in the author, and the outright idiocy of the signer of the first: Rush Limbaugh’s The Way Things Ought to Be, signed by Pat Buchanan (I got PB to sign this when he came to my hometown while I was in high school, half a lifetime ago), and the sequel, Limbaugh’s See, I Told You So, signed by Oliver North (I got ON to sign this when I was in college). These are definitely collectors items—I guarantee nobody else has an autographed pair like this!

Tiaras: A History of Splendor, by Geoffrey Munn, a birthday present of several years ago from Leah of Cathy Plus One. Someday, I will have a real tiara, but in the meantime, I make do with salivating over the pictures of others in this beautiful book. Come to think of it, I guess that makes me odd, not the book!

A Voyage into the Levant (full title: A VOYAGE into the LEVANT: Perform’d by Command of the Late French King.CONTAINING the Ancient and Modern State of the Islands of the Archipelago; as also of Constantinople, the Coasts of the Black Sea, Armenia, Georgia, the Frontiers of Persia, and Asia Minor. WITH Plans of the Principle Towns and Places of Notes; an Account of the Genius, Manners, Trade, and Religion of the Respective People inhabiting those Parts: And an Exploration of Variety of Medals and Antique Monuments. Illustrated with Full Descriptions and Curious Copper-Plates of great Numbers of Uncommon Plants, Animals, &c. And several Observations in Natural History.), by Joseph Pitton de Tournefort. Published in London in 1718, this two-volume set is the oldest in my personal library. It’s the first (and heretofore only) English translation of Tournefort’s account of his several year odyssey around the Mediterranean and Black Sea, and it’s even got one of the first records of the south Slav belief in vampires. Just fascinating—one of the many reasons (besides the excellent author’s general eloquence) the translation sounds entertaining to our modern ears is that the word “them” is everywhere rendered “’em”. And the pictures are lovely—Tournefort took with him a professional engraver, who did for his generation what the old National Geographic photographers did for our parents’.

In my turn, for the next folks to respond to this literary quiz I’d like to tag two ladies…Cathy Plus One and Girl of the South.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

I Say If a Guy Wants Facial Hair...

He ought to follow the example of these gentlemen and develop truly magnificent whiskers.

Dialectizer

Thanks to Andrea (her Natterings blog is linked on the sidebar), I found a thoroughly worthwhile "translation" website--my readers from the South will undoubtably enjoy visiting the Dialectizer and trying it out. Great fun!

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Curious Customers

Fingering the cross necklace displayed at my market table, my small customer gravely informed me that her brother, if he saw it, would get very angry: "He can't stand to see them." Then, apparently feeling an explanation was necessary, she said brightly, "My father's Catholic, so we get to celebrate both Christmas and Channukah."

When had she walked up a few minutes earlier, this diminutive person (seven years old, her father told me later) courteously made known her intentions: "I'm just looking--I've already bought some jewelry today"--here she displayed a plastic bag full of beads--"but I want to know what you have for next week." I responded, with equal gravity, that browsing was fine.

If only so many adults had not been just browsing! Many of the marketeers complained about the slow day. Of course, having suffered through genuinely painful days at Eastern Market last year, I can put my sales today in perspective--they were actually good, just not so good as they are on average, and a truly sorry contrast to the immense success of last weekend.

Another couple of customers from Florence, SC, of all places, shared an intriguing tale: they were in town for the funeral of a pilot shot down and MIA in Vietnam 30+ years ago. It seems there are some dedicated folk connected to the US military who are determined to recover the bodies (or pieces thereof) of these vanished war dead, and decades after his death they had actually been able to find enough of this particular man in the jungles of Southeast Asia to make a positive identification and release the remains to his family for burial. So the funeral was being held at Arlington Cemetery, with relatives from all over the country flying in for a giant family reunion in the preceeding days. And friends were coming, too--the folks from Florence were actually friends of the dead pilot's son.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Eye-Catching Headlines

Woke up, called plumber (tub stopped up again), logged on to Internet. Huge headline greeted me: MISTRIAL IN NOTORIOUS B.I.G. CASE. In much smaller font, several lines underneath this bit of earthshaking news, a casual note: “Bush urges Americans to be vigilant after London attacks.” What?!? What London attacks? As the official newswire didn’t seem capable of prioritizing this, I went to the Drudge Report for the story. Bloody A-Q at it again. Hope the Brits have more spine than the Spaniards. I don’t get people who argue, “If we just cut and run, all of this will go away.” Horse puckey.

Speaking of excrement, my proposed headline for the day before yesterday’s blog, which I somehow never got around to composing, was: “Downwind of the Poop Truck, or the Not-So-Glorious Fifth.” I decided to get my exercise Tuesday by walking (and jogging!) back from the Library of Congress (and yes, I did slather myself with sunscreen before leaving the house this time). Post-Independence Day cleanup was proceeding apace, and this included removal/dumping of the brimming port-o-johns dotting the Mall and clustering near the Iwo Jima Memorial. Man, what a fragrance, biodegrading chemicals notwithstanding!

I embarked on this odyssey of seven bum-wearying miles (I walked down to the shuttle stop—a mile—to get to school for my doctor’s appointment—and then from the Law Center to the LOC and thence home) having the Specter of Physical Therapy looming over my left knee. Apparently my joints are wearing out, and the GP at the HC thought PT would be beneficial. But she also assured me that strenuous exercise wouldn’t worsen the problem, so I took that as a carte blanche to continue my body-beating regimen.

As I entered the homestretch, I saw a dog on the dashboard of 18 wheeler. Not a bobble-head toy. A full-sized spaniel on a cushion. It was looking around comfortably, probably thinking itself the master of all it surveyed.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Pleasure and Discomfort

My entire upper back feels like a scab. You know when you scrape your knee or some other flexible area of skin, and a scab forms, and then you have to bend that part, and the stretching aches as the scab can't compensate for the movement of the wound? Well, I have a nasty sunburn, gotten yesterday afternoon, and every time I adjust my posture, the area below my neck and between my shoulderblades groans.

I wasn't wearing sunscreen because I was under a tent for most of the day. I didn't make my first sale until 10:30, which meant for ninety minutes or more after I finished setting up I was sitting behind my jigsaw of cloth-draped tables, staring off into space and wondering at the high number of "browsers" and the dearth of buyers--most unusual at the Arlington Market. Then the floodgates opened. Just after twelve, the lady who had been effusive last week about my art showed up with her daughter and a quartet of iced cupcakes. She gave me the cupcakes and then proceeded to buy six pairs of earrings and two bracelets within about ten minutes. Talk about a jumpstart to the day! Another pleasure was dealing with a black-clad- and-head-scarf-wearing Middle Eastern lady, who was shopping with her son, who did exactly what I have always done since I started collecting antiques twenty years ago--she bargained! She stopped, admired a pair of earrings, and put them down, regretfully. Then she went off to look at other booths. Then she came back, picked up the earrings again and admired them, but shook her head with a sigh, and said something to her son sotto voce. She stepped out from under the tent, then turned, and gave me to understand by signs and shrugs that she really liked the earrings, but didn't want to pay $21 for them. Her son was mortified. I was delighted--her gestures, her body language, her techniques were mine I had used both in America and in other countries, dealing with vendors like I now was. How much would she pay? She traced a "15" in the air. I caved. Now, I know I could have traced a "17," or otherwise haggled, but I was just so tickled! A fellow bargainer. The funny thing was, I was wearing a spaghetti-strap top and kneelength skirt, and in my pre-10:30 reverie I had been thinking that a Middle Eastern Muslim woman would probably find me quite scandalous and think all sorts of nasty things about my character due to my outfit, and here was just such a lady, and we had a perfect connection--obviously, sisters under the skin.

Eventually, things slowed down to a crawl. So, a little before three, I asked a neighboring vendor to help me take down my tent (it can be done by one person, but it takes perhaps a tenth as long with just one other helper)--we have to be packed and gone by 4PM, as the road is reopened to regular traffic. I started to pack up my jewelry and Hannah's pottery (she'd done respectibly, after last week's total flatline), and whoosh, I was rushed by perhaps twelve people, all interested in my wares. So, I got fried. I could feel my back being broiled, but it wasn't like I had a spare moment to slap on sunscreen while writing out tickets, boxing up purchases, giving change and panicking because it usually takes me almost an hour to pack up and the clock was ticking towards 3:30 and I still had eager customers. Ah well.

I had my best single day ever--I haven't looked at my records to confirm this, but I think it even beat Christmas. Maybe not, but it was right up there. Hannah's supposed to come by Tuesday afternoon and I'm to follow her over to the community center where she teaches pottery, to help her unload the kiln. She squeezed a bunch of my face tiles into the last load of student work, and I'm anxious to see how they turned out (plus, I have a customer who comes by every week to see if I have made any more, and she was disappointed yesterday).

Tonight I'm over at Leah and Aaron's, catsitting while they are out of town. I am using the fact that they don't have highspeed Internet access as an encouragement for me to finish typing in the corrections to a translation of the first chapter of a Russian book a friend of mine is writing over in St. Petersburg. It's a good book--we hope to get it published in parallel English and Russian--about the experience of her grandparents and parents in their relationships with one another (it's based in part on their wartime love letters), with the state and with God during the Soviet era. The problem with the DSL at home is that it's sooo easy to log onto the Internet and procrastinate about the editing job--hence, though I promised her the revisions two days ago, I'm still plugging them in. I am SUCH A SLUG!!!