May. 28th, 2016

zirconium: the word "SANGUINE" engraved in stone (sanguine)
[Today's subject line is from Christophe Willem's "Berlin," which is on the album advertised on posters at Lyons Part Deux seven years ago.]

090527 strasbourg 142


Seven years ago, I was staying in a (comparatively) cheap hotel in a slightly sketchy section of Strasbourg. From a 27 May 2009 e-mail to the BYM:

Slogging away on the [] manuscript and missing American ice machines (I literally pried four cubes out of the hotel tray yesterday afternoon so that my liter of Coke could remain drinkable), takeaway coffee, and clean glassware.

Minor nuisances: the shower's so small the water temp changes whenever I turn around (because my body keeps hitting the faucet), and some dude tried to hit on me by asking if I was from Japan, which is a lame pickup line in any language.

On the plus side, I do think I looked pretty good yesterday [], I bought strawberries and scallions at an open market near the Jewish quarter, and there was a fantastic countertenor busking in front of the Cathedral. Got in a half-day of sightseeing just from getting lost, so I will feel less lame about staying glued to the laptop/netbook all today.


Two mornings later, I took the train from Alsace...

French train station Strasbourg train station, I think

to Marseille, which included a transfer at Lyons Part Deux, where some passengers sit on a bank by the tracks between trains:

IMG_1489 IMG_1485

30 May 2009:


Marseille even noisier and rowdier than Strasbourg, but I was expecting that. I'm getting a good sense of what 65 EUR hotel neighborhoods are like, I guess. ;-)

Also, the further south the train station, the crazier it is. Well, not really, but Lyons Part Dieu was like JFK/O'Hare combined (in terms of sheer mass of humanity and chaos and I even first got on the wrong train, because somehow everyone is supposed to know that the TGV to Marseille will be on track I as opposed to the normal train on track G, and though I at least suspected something was wrong since the train I was supposed to catch had two levels and the Ter had only one). When I got on the right train, some dude was in my seat, so there was a moment of "Oh no!" -- and then another dude mistook it for his because *he* had gotten onto the wrong car.

The drama at Marseille St. Charles was seeing a dozen people pelt through the station, trying to catch their connections.

Dinner was pasta from Chicken World, where I also threw back two espressos (at 11:30 pm).


Today, I ended up discarding plans A, B, and C in favor of housework, yardwork, and time with the dog. Lots of tugging at stubborn vines, stubborn roots, and occasionally stubborn canine. (Me to the BYM: She was chomping on some of ivy. Do you suppose it has hallucinogens in it, and would that explain why she ate half of my poodle-print scarf earlier this week?) I transplanted a hollyhock seedling (which didn't look happy about its new location, but it was one too many further down the row), a cactus cutting, and a bunch of pepper seedlings. I harvested a handful of radishes. I am planning to sow zinnias and maybe marigolds.

We are worried about the dog. Some days she gallops from one end to the house like a puppy; some nights, like tonight, her hind legs intermittently give out on her. It may be time to revisit medication options; it is certainly time to steal more time for her, as it were. I spent a good chunk of the afternoon pruning branches and yanking at stems in a corner of the yard she likes to disappear into, the better to let passersby know that they're on her street. I can't save her from tripping over herself, let alone most of the wide, ever-beckoning universe, but I can at least clean up some of the corners. Digging at the roots unearthed an old shard of glass, some blue-green netting, and the usual jumble of rocks and clumps.

Some of the branches are now propping up parts of the fruit-heavy mama pepper plant, whose pot I also tidied up today, adding soil to cover roots that our spring weather (or the dog) had disturbed. I am resisting the urge to stock up on sale mulch; given the music I need to have in my bones by mid-week (on deck: a recording session [touching up some spots on the forthcoming Heritage OP album], a workshop with Ysaye Barnwell, and two Music Sunday services [also featuring Dr. Barnwell]), I'm unlikely to get through the bags already on hand. As it happens, the dog is now napping in the room with the piano. When I practice tomorrow, she'll probably jog my left elbow before I'm ten minutes in, because (planting snout firmly in my lap) don't I already spend enough time not paying attention to her?

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