Thursday, March 30, 2006

Skunk in Daylight

So, walking down the street yesterday afternoon, I saw a skunk lying on the sidewalk. It appeared to be dead, although it didn't look particularly flattened, nor was it bleeding. Its eyes were open - its eyes were red. It had a beautiful white plumed tail. I felt very bad.

I went on my errands, and coming back, I saw a man walking down the street ahead of me. I wondered what he would do when he saw the dead skunk. He made a wide circle around it, stepping out into the street. That seemed a little odd.

Then I came up to the skunk. The first thing I noticed is that its position had changed - it had turned around. Then I thought, "Is it moving?" It was moving. Which was not actually a good sign.

This was the first time in my life that I've ever seen a skunk in the daytime. It didn't seem right. I backed off a little (much like the other guy had done) and observed it carefully. It was sneezing and rubbing its face with its paws, like a cat. I was thinking about the fact that skunks carry rabies. I saw some white stuff around its mouth, but I couldn't tell if it was froth or fur.

I didn't do anything about it. I just went on my way.

Monday, March 20, 2006


After one week of nice weather, it got cold again. But I just saw some yellow crocuses.

Also, as cold as it is, there is still a sense of spring. The sunlight seems brighter. And the days are certainly longer. It's all happening again.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Onion Soup

I am amazed at what good soup one can make with nothing but onions (well, and a small amount of other seasonings.) Who appreciates onions? They're boring, right, except when they're bringing tears to your eyes? This is not so.

The technique for making onion soup is to chop a number of onions (about three large ones or six small ones) and sauté them for half an hour or so. I don't have much success at caramelizing the onions - they stay fairly pale in color. But they do cook down into a sort of sludge, which is the magic ingredient.

Other ingredients? Salt, plus small amounts of garlic, black pepper, mustard, thyme, bay leaf, soy sauce (for color). Some people like to add a bit of sugar. And white wine if you have it.

Yesterday I went nuts and added a couple carrots and celery stalks. It doesn't hurt anything. But the true quintessence of onion is what it's all about.

Friday, March 10, 2006

I Believe Spring is Here

I opened the windows today for the first time in ages. Fresh air! I had forgotten what that smells like.

If only we could all be as popular as spring. Everyone would always be happy to see us. Actually I did hear one guy on the bus yesterday, saying that he doesn't like summer, so he can't really enjoy the advent of spring. But he must be an exception.

More snow at this time of year is not unheard of. It wouldn't surprise me. But at least today is nice.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Octavia Butler, 1947-2006

So I dropped by Making Light and saw the link in the sidebar: "Octavia Butler, 1947-2006." What does that mean, I thought. It doesn't mean that she's dead. She's not dead. She can't be dead. It must mean something else.

I have to admit that I haven't read as much of her work as I should have. It's heavy stuff. Heady stuff. A little of it goes a long way, like strong drink. Compressed and concentrated, like coal turning into diamonds, like a white dwarf turning into a black hole.

But I find that I'm still grieving. Why is she gone, when all of these stupid people are still permitted to be walking around?

A couple weeks ago, I was pleased to learn that the man who invented LSD had his 100th birthday, and his physical and mental states are as good as can be expected from someone that age. Butler was only 58. I can't quite wish that we could have traded his lifespan for hers. But I almost can.