Archive for May, 2011

I can't, for example, do this.

While doing my weekly allotment of housework today, it suddenly dawned upon me that I will never achieve my mother’s standard of cleanliness, or even the standard of any semi-competent housekeeper for that matter, simply because of my chronic fear of corners due to my claustrophobia. It takes concerted effort to scrub behind the toilet bowl or even to stick my head under the bed to retrieve a toy, or behind the curtains, or into corners.

Then again, my mother’s standard of cleanliness is unparallelled. While I am highly creative in crafting arguments, my mother applies the same creativity in housework. She contrives new places to clean that normal people don’t even think about looking at. Like the pipes that run across the kitchen ceiling (which she once fell off a chair cleaning resulting in my father yelling at her and her nonchalant response of “it looked greasy and needed cleaning”).

So if you do come around for a drink, do forgive my slightly dirty corners and nooks and crannies (and only slightly because The Other Half does most of the housework since we had the kids).

Beyond that, I am really quite a good housekeeper. I (think I) make really good cookies.


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It’s funny how when I was much younger, I had considered it oh such a chore to play this, that it was oh so boring and slow moving and nothing very much happens. I just wanted the storms in the first movement and the action in the third movement thank you very much.

[That’s why for many years, the Moonlight did it for me. It had enough angst and anger and the obligatory second movement was not as long or as involved as the Pathetique. But that’s another story for another day.]

Then I grew up.

And now I find myself gravitating towards this again, appreciating it for it’s contemplation, for it’s clean lines and simple variations, it’s very predictable return to the main theme. It is like that walk to the train station after all the rushing to get ready to leave the house and finally leaving, that quiet, contemplative walk alone wherein you collect your thoughts to start the day or just empty your mind and listen to your footsteps, that brief reprieve from my neverending and mostly futile fight against everything else in the world that I habitually fight against.

It is especially comforting playing it on a muted piano between closing one section of your submissions and starting another.

When I was fourteen, I wanted to be a Beethoven player. Then I was waylaid by Chopin, enamoured by Rachmaninov, distracted by Listz.

I have now begun my return to Beethoven again, true to the sonata form exposition-transition-return.

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Ever wondered why the weeks leading up to a vacation are usually the busiest in the whole year?

I come into work looking for words every day, words that would sum up how I feel or how the judge should feel about things.

But you can only find words if you have the feelings to go along. I’m down to my third set of submissions this week and I feel slightly devoid of feelings. There really is only this amount of rationality and anger one can generate at any given time and I’m afraid I’m dangerously close to the brim.

I really can’t wait for it to be over so that I can do normal things like answering, my mail and hang out in the bar room with a cup of tea.

I’m currently so behind in life that the laundry shop sent me an sms today exhorting me to pick up my white shirts hanging forlornly on the rack, well pressed will’o’wisps covered in plastic waiting for their very much preoccupied owner to take them back to their regular haunt behind the door of the land of yellow files and pink strings.

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But I could have told you, Vincent, this world was never meant for one as beautiful as you.


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the end of condoning

Then all was quiet. Thin moonlight came through the grille, and a shadow resembling a net lay on the floor. It was frightening. Andrei Yefimych lay there with bated breath: he waited in terror to be hit again. It was as if someone had taken a sickle, plunged it into him, and twisted it several times in his chest and guts. He bit his pillow in pain and clenched his teeth, and suddenly, amidst the chaos, a dreadful, unbearable though flashed clearly in his head, that exactly the same pain must have been felt day after day, for years, by these people who now looked like black shadows in the moonlight. How could it happenthat in the course of more than twenty years he had not known and had not wanted to know it? He had not known, he had had no notion of pain, and therefore was not to blame, but his conscience, as rough and intractable as Nikita, made him go cold from head to foot. He jumped up, wanted to shout with all his might and run quickly to kill Nikita, then Khobotov, the superintendent, and the assistant doctor, then himself, but no sound came from his chest and his legs would not obey him; suffocating, he tore at the robe and shirt on his chest, ripped them, and collapsed unconscious on his bed.


Towards evening Andrei Yefimych died of apoplexy. First he felt violent chills and nausea; something disgusting, which seemed to pervade his whole body, even his fingers, welled up from his stomach to his head and flooded his eyes and ears. Everything turned green before him. Andrei Yefimych understood that his end had come and remembered that Ivan Dmitrich, Mikhail Averyanych and millions of people believed in immortality. And what if it was so? But he did not want immortality, and he thought of it for only a moment. A herd of deer, extraordinarily beautiful and graceful, which he had read about the day before, ran past him; then a peasant woman reached out to him with a certified letter…Mikhail Averyanych said something. Then everything vanished and Andrei Yefimych lost consciousness forever.

~ Ward No. 6 by Anton Chekhov, November 1892

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