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mon 04-01-02 We have some magnetic letters on our refrigerator we use to write messages. Judy says there used to be thirty nine, but over the years some have been lost, so there is only one e and one a and no z. A sideways m can be an e, and an upsidedown v makes a pretty good a. C, u, and n and substitute for each other, and d and p, and b and q, are the same. They are all lower case. I thought to replace those missing and looked on the web. Fridge friend has some but the tail of the y is curved. Quercetti has some but he middle of the o and round instead of oblong. Kay Bee toys said they haven't had magnetic letters for two years, and Toys r us only had a set that included a desk top, though they did have classic lincoln logs and tinker toys. Most of what they had was expensive and complicated, many with Disney or other media tie-ins. Lots of dolls in pink boxes and violent action figures, so you can tell the boy's and girl's toys apart easily. It was a frightening and eerie place.
Judy didn't seem to want more letters, but Valerie did, and Ken said we could keep the sets separate, so I ordered the Quercetti. Numbers also.

dust dust thu 04-04 Dust motes dance in sunlight.
Went to see Bennett Dance Company, Past Vertical, on Tremont near Back Bay station. Saw their poster in two places in Central square the other day. It was at Cyclorama, a round space with brick walls and floor and high windows, and a black space frame hanging from the conical wooden ceiling, that held some of the lights. Also the net, which had a cargo section in the middle for climbing, two ropes on the right for swinging and twirling, a rope ladder on the left, and rope netting in between with large holes. One woman climbed to the top of the net and hung by her knees, then worked down the net hanging by her feet to the other three lying at the bottom waiting for her. They all wore gloves. Impressive.
Down Dartmouth and Tremont, back up Clarendon after. Don't remember walking through the south end before. Old three story brick buildings, older than back bay. Could see the lighted interiors of the new stores and restaurants from the dark street. Lots of young people. Sometimes I forget, and think it would be nice to be young. Hopper could paint nighthawks in a diner, but my camera couldn't do anything with that light.
Found von Otter's new Handel CD. There was a piano and a blowup of the album cover at Virgin records, as if she'll be there when she's in town sunday. Also found Brahms opus 120 sonatas played on flute by Emily Skala, very nice.

van house other neighbor's back yard fri 04-05 From the middle of the lake we could see an orange van that was two doors down. The forsythia is starting.

cat car sat 04-06 The batteries delivered last month were installed in the rabbit, but the terminal posts were placed differently and the cables no longer reached. To make new ones, giant crimpers were needed, searched for, found, and ordered, but the wrong tool arrived and arrived broken. A firm was found in Worcester that could make them, Valerie retrieved them, and Ken installed them and plugged in the car to charge.
Mottle has gotten old and Judy has been looking for a back up cat. One at the animal shelter sounded promising. Female, friendly, active, soft, purrs, doesn't scratch the furniture or bite, box trained. So we went and see her today and brought her home. Snickers. Valerie doesn't like the name. Judy says it doesn't have to be dignified. The woman at the shelter had named her. She said she walked on the keyboard, and seemed sorry to see her go.

sun 04-07 We drove in to hear von Otter and Minkowski at Jordan Hall. She sang Bach and Handel. Wonderful. Valerie and I had the lunch buffet at what used to be Star of India and is now Taste of India. It no longer included pakoras, but the aloo gobi was very good.

tue 04-09 Drove in and dropped off our old fax machine at Prison Book Project on Arlington street. Forgot there was no tai chi this week. Bought some apples and pears.

forsythia sailfish neighbors in back wed 04-10 The cat is Squeak.
Got my car inspected. Failed with two burnt out front side lights. They may have been like that for years and no one bothered to fail me for them before. I didn't want to pay ten dollars at the garage, so I drove home with the failed sticker. The hardest part was figuring out how to get the lenses off. Taking out the two long screws didn't do it. Popped the hood, got a flashlight that worked, wiggled them around a bit, and saw they were attached at the front somehow. By alternately prying with a screwdriver and rocking them I was able to slide them forward till two plastic plugs came out. More twisting and prying to get the socket out of the lens. No auto part stores in Sharon, but three in Canton and five in Stoughton. One sixty eight. The inspection report said it was a safety defect and had to be repaired immediately, but that I had sixty days to be reinspected, which is free. So I get two extra months, unless they backdate the sticker.

view view fri 04-19 The leaves on the maples are coming out. I am losing my view of the lake. And my sunlight.

zwiefachers morris dancers uilleann pipes with elbow bellows sat 04-20 Valerie and I went to the New England Folk Festival in Natick. Got there half an hour before it started and still had to park at the very remote lot and take the school bus back. Saw zwiefachers doing waltz steps and twirls in various combinations. Received a couple tips on contraing without clobbering or being clobbered. Elbows somewhat in, twirls as binary stars and not satellite and planet, hand on shoulder blade and not gripping spine or kidney, other's hand with thumb in back and not gripping clavicle. Old time circles and reels were good until the caller told everyone to polka near the end. Sung squares were good until the one our set just couldn't do. Carrot cake for lunch. Morris dancers in the courtyard. Balkan goat dance with drums and fiddle. I don't think I want to know what the bagpipe was made from. Rum and Onions contras with neither. A lot of information on Argentine tango. Tactile communication, posture, hands, walking, double and half time, rocking, pivoting, walking backwards, sideways grapevine step and variation. Cajun music with button accordion and two fiddles. Groups of people jamming in the hallways.
Took a picture of the sunset, with my screen reflected in the window.

sun 04-21 Valerie made wonderful Pad Thai. I asked her for and she has kindly provided the recipe.
Pad Thai (substantially adapted from a Boston Globe recipe)
This recipe works best if you organize everything first!
 
1.  Cook and drain:
  10-12 ounces dry rice noodles 
  or two packages Japanese-style soft noodles (udon type)
2.  Assemble separately the following stir-fry ingredients ready to cook:
  2 cloves garlic, crushed
  3 medium shallots, sliced into thin rings
  1/4 pound drained extra firm tofu, cut small
  chicken or meat, cut small, can be precooked or raw
  1/2 pound cooked and peeled shrimp
3.  Mix sauce and set aside:
  1 tablespoon tomato paste
  1 tablespoon chili paste (this is not too much)
  3 tablespoons lime juice
  2 tablespoons sugar (more to taste)
  3 tablespoons fish sauce
4.  Have ready one cup of mung bean sprouts.
5.  Chop in small food processor 1/2 cup of unsalted dry-roasted peanuts.
6.  Beat two eggs and fry in a sheet.  Cut in strips.  Chop 3 scallions.
7.  Cut a fresh lime into wedges, chop 6 springs of cilantro, chop mint 
if available.
 
In a wok, stir-fry #2 ingredients, in the order given, carmelizing the 
  garlic and shallots first and then browning the tofu.  Be sure to cook 
  any raw meat thoroughly.  Cook the shrimp last.
Add and stir fry the cooked noodles (#1).
Add the bean sprouts and chopped peanuts (#4 & #5), toss.
Pour the sauce (#3) over all and toss until heated.
Top with #6 ingredients.
Serve with #7 ingredients.
dresser mon 04-22 Listening to flute and piano music by Giacinto Scelsi (1905-1988). It's like trance music trying to be something more, or variations without a theme. It has something to say in its own right, but you have to listen for a while. The works for different flutes with or without gongs or oboe, or for solo piano, each constantly returning to a single note, all hold and fit together somehow. Some of it sounds like japanese bamboo flute. The last poorly recorded piece, with flute and the composer at the piano, forms a kind of sad coda, like an unfinished Bach fugue. I was reminded of another album where, at the end, someone walks out of the studio and closes the door.

tue 04-23 Walking from Tower Records Fenway to Brookline Tai Chi along the Muddy River in the late afternoon, I saw a woman then two more stopped to look at some canada geese and several yellow and brown fuzzy goslings eating grass. When I looked at movement on a nearby branch hanging over the water I saw a large brown and white hawk, also watching.

apple apple apple sat 04-27 After the wind and the rain the apple tree in back has some blossoms and some caterpillars.

shingles with truck and boat bleeding hearts tue 04-30 The roofer had some shingles delivered.
It's gotten cold and too windy to canoe.

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