My two-months-early birthday present will arrive today.
Aside #1: My parents wisely and generously give cash gifts with orders that the recipient buy something for yourself. The Old Man issues caveats which, depending on his children’s age, have included “Don’t spend it all at the bar” and “You could use a new set of tires” and (my all-time favorite) “Don’t buy a marriage license.”
I bought three books by Ciaran Carson: Collected Poems and his translations of The Inferno and The Tain.* I had read few poems of his, but an acquaintance told me he translated Dante Alighieri’s work without the prerequisite academic background. She thought it was a fine, fresh translation.
Aside #2: When I was a measly undergraduate, I translated portions of Rosalia de Castro’s El caballero de las botas azules for the pure joy of getting inside her beautiful words. My Chilean profesor encouraged me; the profesora from Spain, no.
When checking on my order, I discovered Amazon has started a points-earning program for booklovers. Or, as I like to call us, book-stalkers.
Aside #3: Although I regularly borrow books, I buy books that I might write in. Poetry gets a notes in the margins, but prose gets more. When I study plotting, foreshadowing, and the like, the gloves come off!
Alas! I cannot take part in Amazon’s latest scheme. I’m bracing for winter and increasing costs. It’s especially sad to read the electric company’s report. It shows how successful my conservation efforts were; however, kilowatts are more expensive, so the bills are the same or higher. I have kept the furnace off as much as possible and continue to air-dry most of the laundry; the gas bills are manageable for now.
Aside #4: I don’t wish to be political, the label applied to seemingly every philosophical difference. However, readers may be disappointed by the following paragraph:
I’m pro-human rather than anti-fuel. No one should be left cold and hungry when the power fails. I was happy when my English friend announced that her husband had successfully installed a wood-and-coal stove in their centuries-old cottage. My friends celebrated, too, when I found an indoor-use radiant heater that runs on small propane tanks.
Aside #5: Michigan has the largest residential sector consumption of propane in the nation.
To be blunt, budgeting is a nightmare around here. We pore over grocery store flyers like gamblers with racing rosters. The sale on pork rib looks good, but what about the unmentioned staples? What are the odds of winning the superfecta of bacon, cheese, coffee, and cooking oil?
Aside #6: Although some family members add milk and sweetener to coffee, we drink tea without it. However, we enjoy “flavoured” tea, which seems to horrify my favorite European home-and-garden YouTubers. My current preference is a mix of orange peel, dried cranberry, and loose black tea. It brings back fond memories of tea with my grandmother and my great-aunt Lorena.
This week, I set a limit of $60 for holiday foods. I won’t bore you with the blow-by-blow (especially if you were kind enough to read this far). I walked out of the grocery store with cash in hand and immediately went to the $1.29 store (formerly a dollar store). I scored two four-packs of Faygo cola and Faygo Twist, which can be used for drinks or to flavor cake.
Final Aside: This is the Faygo Song, the jingle accompanying ads for the Michigan’s most popular pop. (The correct abbreviation of “soda pop.”) I think it came out in the ’60s, but my friends and I sang it decades later, along with the Oscar Mayer wiener song.