Category Archives: ignorima

This One’s for the Birds

Lately I’ve been obsessed with trying to catch birds in the act of flying in the wrong direction. Specifically, north instead of south for the winter. So far I haven’t been able to bust even one flock and frankly, I don’t know what I’d do if it ever happened. I guess it would just give me a sense of personal satisfaction, knowing I’m not the only one who gets lost.

I asked Facebook for the answer earlier today and one friend told me that some birds can sense the Earth’s magnetic field, while others know where the sun rises and sets. Another friend said she thought the one in the front had a compass.

Anyway, I was at the mall today. I was there with my mother because we were going out for lunch. Well, my mother and I had a nice lunch at the newly renovated Nordstrom cafe and when we went back out to the parking lot, someone had moved our cars. Both of them!

We looked and we looked and we looked some more, but our cars were nowhere in sight. We had to walk back and forth through the north, south and east exits before we located them a great distance from the spot where we swore we had parked.

I chalked it up to the Car Moving Fairy, but I have a nagging suspicion there are some geese up there, laughing.

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I Have a Percolator. I Have Beans. Can I Make a Pot of Coffee?

Once upon a time, I signed up to be in charge of coffee at a Christmas potluck. It was brilliant.  All I had to do was show up with a couple bags of beans and set them down in the kitchen. No slaving like a fool over warm entrees for me!

So that is what I did. I arrived at the annual choir holiday potluck with a bag of regular and a bag of decaf, plopped them down on the counter, and went off to get a plate of food.

After dinner the hostess hunted me down.

“Rima? I think it’s time for coffee” she said, “Do you need help bringing the percolators down?”

What is a percolator? I thought to myself. And why would I need one?

As it happened, “signing up for coffee” meant you had to make it. And serve it. In a percolator. For forty plus guests.

I did the best I could, where “best I could” equals emptying a bag-o-beans in into the vat, adding water to taste, pressing “on,” and hoping for the best.  The coffee was like turpentine and the next year I brought a dessert.

But I never learned my lesson about signing up for things without reading the fine print.  I have been sitting on Part Deux of my France story for the past month because I realized that it potentially had a Part Trois, Quatre, Cinq, Six, Sept, and so on. Which is like a string of chapters, yes? And then I thought, “By God, I should write a book! Anyone can do it!

Soon enough, I remembered about NaNoWriMO (National Novel Writing Month), during which kamikaze writers pledge to write 50,000 words during the month of November.  And I signed up!

Then, I read the rules. (“We define a novel as a lengthy work of fiction . . .”)

And suddenly I was standing at a Christmas party with a bag of coffee beans and a percolator, but no idea how to make coffee.


I can make tea. Tea is easy, you just take what you already have, (a tea bag?), dip it in boiling water, add a little honey and voila! Non-fiction.

But coffee? Coffee is a different beast. You have to plan, measure, brew.

I’m not sure if I can do it, but I’m going to try.

P.S. Who’s with me? WHO’S WITH ME??

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Itzhak Perlman I Am Not

Total disaster of a violin lesson this morning, readers.

I must have made hella impression on my teacher last time, because today she forgot I was coming over.

And she only realized I was there for my bi-monthly lesson when she practically backed into my car on her way out the driveway. I could tell she was a little irked to find me standing on her stoop with my pencil bun hairdo and violin case in hand, but what could I do? We had a covenant.

She was like, “Well, we might as well do this thing since you’re here now. Come on in.” And I was like, “That’s good, because I wasn’t planning on leaving. (Telepathically.)

So then I followed her in the house, where the attack dogs were barking hysterically in a cage not two feet from the music room and began setting up my violin paraphernalia and whatnot. I guess it goes without saying that this time, we skipped the yoga stretches.

I had just finished painstakingly positioning my violin under my chin when she said,

“Is that how you’ve been holding it all week?”

And thus began a half hour humblepalooza during which I learned that every single frickity-frackin’ thing I’d been practicing since my last lesson, I had been doing backwards. And my teacher-who-had-someplace-else-to be was clearly getting irritated with me and my prehensile bow grip and form.

The really sad part is that I had been trying very hard, even going so far as to study Utube clips for hours (OK, minutes) on end to make sure I was on track. And I was getting kind of cocky, too, feeling like if the Cleveland Orchestra ever needed someone in a pinch to play a single note for them, I could totally do it.

I’m not discouraged yet, readers, but the thing that’s got me worried about my next lesson is the fact that I’m still not sure I understand exactly what it is that I’m supposed to do, or what I was doing wrong (besides holding my violin like a rocket launcher).

And, of course, the dogs.

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