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Jibralta
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I've read the book a couple of times. I think I'm due again, sometime soon. I'm really on a roll with reading these days! Been sleeping great, too.

My sister used to watch the movie all the time. I sat down and watched the whole thing through after I'd finally read the book. I found the movie to be a lot different from the book. I don't think it was bad, just incomplete.

My boyfriend read the book and liked it. He wanted to watch the movie. So, one night, we tried. But he couldn't make it past the first few scenes. So, we turned it off. 

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2 minutes ago, Jibralta said:

I've read the book a couple of times. I think I'm due again, sometime soon. I'm really on a roll with reading these days! Been sleeping great, too.

My sister used to watch the movie all the time. I sat down and watched the whole thing through after I'd finally read the book. I found the movie to be a lot different from the book. I don't think it was bad, just incomplete.

My boyfriend read the book and liked it. He wanted to watch the movie. So, one night, we tried. But he couldn't make it past the first few scenes. So, we turned it off. 

I’ve been reading a great deal more to stay off screens and social media. I’ve always been an avid reader but definitely increased now.  It will be interesting to see how getting out there again and back to the office affects that. 

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I've never read either of those classics. I'm almost embarrassed to say that! I should give them a go! 

I've been infatuated with cook books since the first lockdown. I'm fascinated with the different ways different people approach food and ingredients. And I love anything food history. I've been on a kick of trying older recipes, ancestors of modern dishes. 

Jib, if you are still craving eggs, try a French omelette! 

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Posted (edited)

They're both really good, well-told stories. I'm looking forward to reading them again.

On 6/6/2021 at 8:23 PM, itsallgrand said:

I've been infatuated with cook books since the first lockdown. I'm fascinated with the different ways different people approach food and ingredients.

That's a dangerous infatuation to have during a lockdown lol!

I get it, though. I was addicted to cooking shows for a long time. If I'm not careful, it could happen again! 😂 

For the last 10 years or so, I was mainly getting my fix through youtube videos. But prior to that, and any time I have access to cable TV programming, I enjoy(ed) watching shows like Chopped! and Iron Chef. I am fascinated by the way that different ingredients can be used as salt, acid, sweetness, etc. 

On 6/6/2021 at 8:23 PM, itsallgrand said:

And I love anything food history.

I don't know if you'd find this interesting, but years ago (10+!) I came across this talk on CSPAN BookTV (I used to be a big BookTV nerd). It's about a book called 1493, which discusses the global impact of Christopher Columbus's journey to America. He talks about things like the journey of the tomato from South America to Italy. So interesting. Maybe I'll buy the book one day lol.

https://www.c-span.org/video/?301825-1/1493-uncovering-world-columbus-created

On 6/6/2021 at 8:23 PM, itsallgrand said:

I've been on a kick of trying older recipes, ancestors of modern dishes.

Have you ever run across the Townsends page on Youtube? They do lots of early American recipes. There's also one for British recipes of the Victorian era... I'll post if I remember it.

On 6/6/2021 at 8:23 PM, itsallgrand said:

Jib, if you are still craving eggs, try a French omelette! 

Yes! I've made these in the past when I've had an egg craving... seems to happen to me a lot lol.

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On 6/6/2021 at 8:23 PM, itsallgrand said:

I've never read either of those classics. I'm almost embarrassed to say that! I should give them a go! 

I've been infatuated with cook books since the first lockdown. I'm fascinated with the different ways different people approach food and ingredients. And I love anything food history. I've been on a kick of trying older recipes, ancestors of modern dishes. 

Jib, if you are still craving eggs, try a French omelette! 

Have you listened to the NPR Show "Splendid Table?"  I think you'd love it.  

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Jib, it has been dangerous... I had to switch to a whole foods diet to lose the few pounds I picked up during my rediscovery of butter lol. 

That 1493 book sounds right up my alley!! I'll check it out. There is this book called "Sugar" that I've reread several times. It's what started my collection of books dedicated to one ingredient history. It's gruesome, but a good important read. 

I've come across the Townsends videos a few times, comes up in my feed now lol. Some of the recipes are super interesting! It's neat seeing someone doing what he's doing. 

Thanks for this! 

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, itsallgrand said:

There is this book called "Sugar" that I've reread several times.

Is that by Elizabeth Abbott (I'm googling it)?

By the way, 1493 isn't just about ingredient history. There's other stuff in there, too. Just wanted to warn you in case you have no interest in anything but food lol. But I hope you do read it and enjoy it.

Your food history interest reminded me of the tomato anecdote... When I first heard that, I thought it was sooo interesting. What a great lens to study history through, you know?

It's supposed to be a really good book. Unfortunately for me, I have a hard time focusing on non-fiction books. My mind just starts spinning with all of the interesting information...

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3 hours ago, Jibralta said:

Is that by Elizabeth Abbott (I'm googling it)?

By the way, 1493 isn't just about ingredient history. There's other stuff in there, too. Just wanted to warn you in case you have no interest in anything but food lol. But I hope you do read it and enjoy it.

Your food history interest reminded me of the tomato anecdote... When I first heard that, I thought it was sooo interesting. What a great lens to study history through, you know?

It's supposed to be a really good book. Unfortunately for me, I have a hard time focusing on non-fiction books. My mind just starts spinning with all of the interesting information...

Yes, that one! And no, I love most history, so I'm totally going to add that book to my list.

I used to read mostly fiction, and now it's the other way around. I still love a good story though. There's something so soothing about getting engrossed in a good story. 

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Posted (edited)

Arnold and I started watching The Simpsons

This is a show that I've watched since its infancy, on The Tracey Ullman Show. The Simpsons started out as short clips that came on before and after the commercial breaks. I just loved them. Then it became a series, and of course I loved that, too.

I watched it pretty regularly until about 2007, when I started graduate school. The only reason I didn't watch it then was because I was too busy, and my schedule was crazy. By the end of graduate school, my routine had changed, and I'd lost touch with a regular TV schedule. In fact, I haven't had cable TV service since. As a result, I haven't seen the last 14 seasons.

Arnold and I tried watching The Simpsons a couple of years ago, but he was freaked out by the way that the season one program looked (it has transformed over the years). So, we stopped watching it lol. But we recently came to a compromise where we began watching at Season 10. Starting in medias res like this disturbs Arnold's OCD a little bit, but not as much as watching weird-looking Simpsons did.

When we started watching a couple weeks ago, I marveled at how aligned my thinking is with this sitcom. It made me wonder if The Simpsons influenced me over the years. After all, I started watching it when I was ten years old.

On the other hand, if my thinking and my sense of humor wasn't already aligned with the show's, I probably wouldn't have continued watching it. At that point in time, I was already devouring Mad Magazine and The Far Side comics.

My sister and my mom immediately rejected The Simpsons, and I think even they would agree that they (my sister and my mom) have very little sense of humor and are offended by anything that could be considered even mildly subversive. 

So it's kind of a chicken-and-egg thing.

Anyway, we've watched through Seasons 10 and 11 now. We got two episodes into Season 12, and I think this must be where I stopped watching the new ones years ago. I was never good at prime time TV commitments. My historic Simpsons consumption primarily consisted of repeats. Even Season 11 was borderline unfamiliar. 

We decided to go back and start with Season 1. Arnold is ready lol. He's got enough "normal-looking" Simpsons under his belt to delve into the beginnings. I'm glad, because a lot of the humor in this show consists of it making fun of itself over the years, and in the character development. And it will allow us to watch the later seasons for the first time, together.

There's a reason why I posted all of this, but I don't remember what it is. It vanished from my brain the moment I began typing.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Early one winter morning, this song came on during my drive to work. It was still dark out, and I had the highway mostly to myself.

I've always enjoyed this song; it's been around my whole life. But in the peaceful darkness of that morning, it seemed to take on a whole new life.

It felt like my car was filled with music and darkness and the pinpoints of light that were the street lamps and headlights passing me by. It felt like magic.

 

Edited by Jibralta
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I recently watched a multi-part documentary on Amazon about Scott Peterson and Laci Peterson. It was almost instantly apparent that the aim of the documentary was to cast doubt upon the guilty verdict that Scott received. They focused on the police investigation, the kind of evidence that was presented at the trial, and whether the explosive media coverage prevented Scott from receiving a fair trial.

I do remember the case from 20 years ago. But I didn't realize it relied so heavily on circumstantial evidence, and that the fairness of the judicial process was in question. The documentary made some compelling points. However, I was left wanting more information about the evidence, the prosecution's case, and the arguments that they made.  

One thing that I find it very difficult to get past is Scott's behavior. People in the documentary said over and over again, "You can't judge another person's grieving process." But his behavior seemed above and beyond what is normal. 

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My biological half-sister texted me today. In about a month and a half, she will visiting her boyfriend's family in Pennsylvania. They'll only be about 2 hours away from me. Hopefully we'll have time to finally meet. Exciting!!

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Such an interesting thing happened today. It was almost eerie.

Backstory:

My uncle (my mom's brother) is having my grandparents exhumed from the cemetery here in NJ, and relocated to his own family plot, three hours away. It's kind of a weird thing to do I guess, but nobody in my family is too bothered about it. People like my grandparents want to be surrounded by the people that they know and love, even in death.

My grandparents really have nobody where they are right now. My grandmother's sisters passed away decades ago, and they are all buried in different cemeteries. I don't think any of my grandfather's family ever came over to the United States. All of my grandmother's and grandfather's descendants (with the exception of me) moved to different states. After my grandparents are reinterred at my uncle's family plot, they will be surrounded by his family. I think they would like that. 

The cemetery where my grandparents currently reside is not very far from where I live, but I've rarely visited their grave. It's just not something I ever got into the habit of doing. I think I've been to that plot twice since my grandmother died in 2001. The first time was for her funeral; the second time was after my nephew's christening, two years ago.

My uncle came up for the christening. It was the first (and only) time he met my boyfriend, Arnold. I remember that my uncle spontaneously embraced Arnold as they stood by my grandparent's grave. It was unexpected, but nice. 

My mom told me a couple months ago that my uncle was moving my grandparents. I made a note in my mind to visit them before that happened. But somehow, I completely forgot. I mean completely

Fast forward to this past week.

My mom came to NJ to visit. At dinner, she told Arnold and me that she'd gone to put flowers by my grandparent's grave earlier that day. She was surprised to discover that my grandparent's headstone had already been removed, and that made her wonder if my grandparents were actually still interred there. She texted my uncle to find out if he'd moved them yet. My uncle said that he hadn't, but my mom wasn't sure about that because my uncle is getting more and more forgetful in his old age (I think he's in his 80s now). 

I reassured my mom that she would see the disturbance if my grandparent's coffins had been removed. But internally, I felt a spark of urgency. I couldn't believe that I'd forgotten all about the exhumation. Obviously, the move was imminent. I didn't have much time left to visit them. 

Arnold clearly felt the same sense of urgency because he said to me, "We should make sure to get over there this weekend."

I said, "Yes, definitely. Mom, I need you to give me directions to find Yia-Yia's grave. I don't remember where it is in the cemetery."

My mom said, "Of course."

Arnold said, "I think I know how to get there."

I said, "You've only been there once."

He said, "Yeah, but I think I know."

But then we forgot all about it.

Today, on the way back from dinner, Arnold said to me, "Hey, let's not forget to go visit your grandmother's grave. Let's make a point to go tomorrow morning."

I couldn't believe that I'd forgotten all about the exhumation yet again!! I said, "Ugh! Tomorrow morning isn't good; I want to get to work early. Maybe we can go in the afternoon?"

Arnold said, "Why don't we go right now? I'm sure I can find it."

I was like, "Ok...." and we detoured to the cemetery.

I thought that if Arnold actually found my grandparent's grave, I would be amazed. But I was definitely open to the possibility. I really wanted to visit them before they left. I knew I would feel very sad if I didn't have the chance to visit them beforehand.... Even though I've already said my goodbyes to them both, decades ago, I felt like I would somehow miss something important if I didn't pay my respects now. And even if I ended up visiting their new resting place, I knew that I would still regret not visiting them before they left this one. 

The cemetery is quite large, so we spent a little while meandering around by car until we got to the general area where we thought the grave probably was. Then we got out and walked for a couple minutes. We found some similar gravestone configurations, and at each of those I found gaps where headstones could have been removed. But none of the sites seemed quite right to either of us.

Aaron definitely remembered a tree... A couple of the locations we visited had a tree in the vicinity, but none was the tree that he remembered. I didn't remember a tree, but I also didn't not remember a tree... It just seemed like Arnold's memory was a lot more clear on this matter than mine was.

In one area, we came upon three bucks grazing among the graves. Each had large, fuzzy racks of antlers. So odd to see bucks. It's usually does and fawns that I see. But this summer, I've been seeing lots of bucks.

I texted my mom as we walked, hoping to hear back from her before we left the cemetery. But she didn't respond. When we got back to the car, Arnold said, "I just need to drive to the gate that we entered through after the christening. Bear with me." I was like, "Ok."

The cemetery roads are quite narrow, and there really aren't any places where you can easily turn a car around. Arnold picked the stupidest way to turn the car around. He said, "Just bear with me. I know I picked the stupidest way to turn the car around. I just need to see. This is going to help me to see." 

I was like, "Ok."

Once he turned the car around, he suddenly decided to go left instead of back the way we came. He said, "You know, I think this could be the way..." I was like, "Ok."

We turned onto another road, and we were both like, "This looks a lot more familiar!" I saw a grave that I thought I remembered. Not my grandparent's grave; just a distinctive name. Arnold pulled the car over and we both got out.

We walked to where their grave would be, and saw a spot where a headstone had recently been removed. I saw plantings and a landscaped border, the way that my mom would have kept things. A couple of cut tiger lilies lay there, stems wrapped in tinfoil with a moist paper towel inside to keep them hydrated. Probably my mom's handiwork from a couple days ago. I felt certain this was the grave.

So, we stood there for a few minutes. I knelt down in front of where the headstone would be. I didn't know what to say or to think, so I just sat there and thought of them, and their imminent journey. I felt glad that I got to visit them before they left, even though I don't know why that is. My grandmother has been gone for 20 years; my grandfather has been gone for almost 40 years. I said my goodbyes a long time ago. But even so, I reached out and let myself connect to them. My boyfriend stood there with me, a gentle hand on my shoulder. 

Then I stood up and looked around at the neighboring headstones. All mostly Greeks. Unsurprising, knowing my grandmother. But none of them are our family. My boyfriend knelt down for a few moments, propping up the lillies. Maybe paying his respects, I don't know. I didn't think anything of it at the time. It seemed so natural. But afterwards, I thought, Maybe....

As we drove away, I wondered if my grandparents had summoned us there to meet him before they left. 

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7 hours ago, maritalbliss86 said:

What a weird and mysterious experience Jilbralta....

It got even weirder, actually! On our way home, a couple weird little things happened, including Arnold's tire alarm going off for no reason. But the strangest thing happened when I was typing all of that out.

All of a sudden, it was like someone held down the <Enter> key for like 30 seconds. I watched helplessly as my text was relentlessly bisected by a million carriage returns. My hands were totally off the keyboard and the mouse. I had to just sit there and wait until it finally stopped of its own accord. I was worried that my browser would suddenly close and that I'd lose everything I wrote. Fortunately, it stopped and I didn't lose anything. 

That made me think of my grandfather. He used to tease me when I was a little kid by holding stuff up out of my reach. Holding down the <Enter> button in the middle of me writing would be just his sense of humor. 

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42 minutes ago, Jibralta said:

It got even weirder, actually! On our way home, a couple weird little things happened, including Arnold's tire alarm going off for no reason. But the strangest thing happened when I was typing all of that out.

All of a sudden, it was like someone held down the <Enter> key for like 30 seconds. I watched helplessly as my text was relentlessly bisected by a million carriage returns. My hands were totally off the keyboard and the mouse. I had to just sit there and wait until it finally stopped of its own accord. I was worried that my browser would suddenly close and that I'd lose everything I wrote. Fortunately, it stopped and I didn't lose anything. 

That made me think of my grandfather. He used to tease me when I was a little kid by holding stuff up out of my reach. Holding down the <Enter> button in the middle of me writing would be just his sense of humor. 

There was a wonderful radio program on yesterday -I think it was Reveal on NPR -about coincidences and what is/what isn't.  Thanks so much for how you wrote about what happened and for sharing what happened!  You're a really expressive and good writer!!

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The story gets even weirder.

Arnold and I were just out driving around when my mom called to touch base about the graves.

I told her a little of our adventure and said, "Arnold was looking for this one tree that he remembered by their grave."

My mom said, "Yes, Papou picked that plot because of that tree."

I said, "That's fcking amazing."

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On 6/13/2021 at 5:24 PM, Jibralta said:

Early one winter morning, this song came on during my drive to work. It was still dark out, and I had the highway mostly to myself.

I've always enjoyed this song; it's been around my whole life. But in the peaceful darkness of that morning, it seemed to take on a whole new life.

It felt like my car was filled with music and darkness and the pinpoints of light that were the street lamps and headlights passing me by. It felt like magic.

 

WHAT a song Jib, this is one of my favourite tunes.

 

Glad you enjoyed your cruise, nothing beats driving when no one else is around!

 

x

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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

On Wednesday, my boyfriend and I embarked upon our customary morning walk. Part of our route extends along one of the main roads in town. We walk to a church at particular intersection, then we turn around and return the way that we came. 

When the main road built (well before we were born), part of it was carved through some hills. On our walk to the intersection, the higher portion of these hills are on our right. The lower portion of the hills continue down on our left, where they eventually terminate in a river valley. But the entire area is quite developed, so it's not immediately obvious.

Actually, the most obvious indication of the hills is a stone retaining wall along one of two cemeteries that we pass on our right, on the way to the intersection. This cemetery belongs to the church where we turn around, and the retaining wall begins at about 500 feet from intersection. At first, the top of the wall is way up over our heads. But as we get closer to the intersection the wall gradually gets lower. When the cemetery ends and the church grounds begin, the retaining wall is a little lower than waist height. Then it turns the corner and terminates into the rising hill.

On Wednesday, as we walked alongside the retaining wall, I saw a large frog sitting at its base. It was definitely a frog, not a toad. Odd, because there isn't a nearby pond or stream. And where he was sitting was completely paved. I stopped at the frog, and noticed an old man walking towards us. Not someone we've ever passed on our walk before.

I started to lean down to shoo the frog away, and my boyfriend said, "Wait! You'll scare him into the road." I realized that he was right. There was nowhere safe for the frog where we were. So, I stopped and waited for the old man to pass us. He did so, smiling at us. I wondered if he noticed the big frog at our feet.

After the old man passed us, I leaned down and gingerly picked up the frog at its shoulder blades, so that it would not pee on me. The frog made absolutely no attempt to escape or to resist. It was so still as I leaned over it that I half expected it to be dead. When I picked it up, I could tell it was alive. But still, very little movement. 

At this point, the retaining wall was at shoulder height. So, it was just a matter of lifting the frog up and placing him on the grass on the other side of the wrought iron fence. As I raised the frog, he did start to squirm a bit. But I was careful and didn't let him fall. I placed him on the grass, and then we watched as he (literally!) sprang into life. It was as though touching the grass woke him from a spell or a stupor. We both felt sure that he was ok.

As we passed the same place on the way back, I recounted the strangeness of that encounter to my boyfriend. I said, "That frog seemed so disoriented, like he had suddenly slipped into limbo. It was like he didn't recognize the world around him and didn't know where he was or where to go. It was like he was frozen in confusion, in some netherworld. When we put him on the grass, it was like we were returning him to his own world." My boyfriend agreed.

As we passed the second cemetery on our left, I thought I caught some motion out of the corner of my eye. I turned and looked through the fence, expecting perhaps to see this buck that I'd been seeing around town. Back in June, I saw him grazing calmly in front of an office building in the middle of the day. A couple weeks later, as Arnold and I were on our morning walk, the buck stood in the middle of the sidewalk in front of us. In a single, effortless leap, he cleared the six-foot cemetery fence and ambled off. 

Anyway, there was nothing there. It wasn't the buck that caught my eye. I don't know what it was.

As we approached our neighborhood, I remembered a memory from when I was a little child. I was less than five years old. I was in our house, and there were bright drops of blood on the floor. My mother and my grandmother couldn't find my grandfather. He was wounded, wandering around the house.

Eventually they did find him. I remember him sitting in a chair and them tending to a cut on his head. That's when I learned that he was very sick. But that information didn't mean to me then what it means to me now. It was more like, "This is not a place for you; you won't understand this." A sort of closed-off feeling. Cut off. I think that's how people feel sometimes, with illness. 

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Just now, dias said:

It's not the same?

No. A toad is a specific type of frog. All toads are frogs, but not all frogs are toads. Frogs and toads have different skin, slightly different proportions, move a little differently. You generally find toads farther away from water than frogs. That's why I was surprised that it was a frog and not a toad. 

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