Monday, December 19, 2011


On my way to work I needed my sunglasses but there was an enormous, ominous sheet of gray clouds sliding down from the north (just like the weather guy predicted!) that has settled like a giant garbage can lid over the city, blocking out the cheery sunshine. Bah. It was lovely having Lala visit yesterday and sleep over. She and I went for a walk out along the bay marshes (we saw an eagle nice and low in the sky--score!) and then we folded origami for a while. After a lovely supper, made by the even lovelier Durwood, we went to hear the FREE Christmas concert put on by the Baylander Chorus (Barbershoppers/men's chorus), Chantelles (Sweet Adelines/women's chorus), and a Lutheran bell choir. Those bell choir bells are odd sounding, not bad sounding but not like a real bell with a real clapper, kind of electronic sounding. Heh, I just looked them up on Wikipedia and here's what they say: One of the two major defining characteristics of English handbells are their clappers. The clapper on an English handbell is on a hinge and moves back and forth in a single direction, unlike a school bell in which the clapper swings freely in any direction. It also has a spring that holds the clapper away from the casting after the strike to allow the bell to ring freely. Furthermore, the shaft of the clapper is rigid, such that the bell may be held with its mouth facing upward. That explains a lot. Anyway, the concert was good. We got to sing along on a lot of the traditional carols and I like singing. Before the concert we drove to see the house at Dousman & Platten. Lights! Lights! Lights! I can't imagine their power bill for December. Seeing all the lit houses made me sorry I hadn't put the flamingo and palm tree out this year, but I haven't been in the mood. Next year.

December 18--Iran, Plate with a Hunting Scene. The only way was to ride the camel. Claire looked in vain for a horse, even a donkey to ride but none of the tours of the Valley of the Antelope had anything but camels. Darren and Millie were already mounted, Millie patting her camel and giggling about sheiks and harems. Claire finally let herself be persuaded to perch awkwardly on the bony back of a bad tempered camel named Saddam. She barely understood the camel driver's instructions about controlling the creature. He said his name was Johnny Depp but she was sure it was a nom de caravan meant to make tourists feel comfortable. She kept smiling and nodding. It struck her that she was doing the same thing her Guatemalan gardener Mario did. He understood most of what she said, she thought, but he smiled through it all and just did what he thought she wanted him to do instead of asking questions. It nearly drove her mad. She wondered if Johnny Depp complained to his wife about them after a long day of tourist tours. All thoughts fled as Saddam lurched to his feet almost pitching her off, first forward, then back. There was no time for philosophizing or even thinking on your first camel ride, she realized as the string of camels started striding along, Saddam bringing up the rear. She caught sight of what looked like a tawny dog with horns far in the distance. It was either the antelope the valley was named for or a statue put up for tourists. It was far away so until it moved she couldn't be sure it was real. Johnny Depp spent the trip riding next to Millie pointing out interesting sights, ruins and rocks mostly, and making Millie laugh. Trailing behind on Saddam with his bad disposition and what sounded like a digestive problem, Claire felt like an ugly stepsister. She had just decided to stop brooding and urge Saddam to catch up with the others when something whizzed by her head. Her eyes widened with horror to see an arrow protruding from one of the little antelopes. Hamir, the assistant camel driver, rode out across the rocky desert and came triumphantly back with the carcase draped across the camel's neck. Claire got a little lightheaded thinking how close she had come to being shot. Hamir rode up next to her, patted the little creature, and with a big grin on his face said, "lunch!"

I would totally ride a camel. I think a two-humper would be easier to sit on than a one-humper, but I'd give it a shot. What's a little indignity among friends? Lentil soup for lunch today. Aren't you jealous? It's homemade.


P.S. That's Saturday and Sunday night's writing. I think I'm going to combine them from now on since there's only one "art" for each weekend.

1 comment:

Aunt B said...

Whenever you ride a camel, be sure someone takes a picture. But I'm with you on the two-humper. Has to be easier than on just one!!