Friday, September 29, 2006

Ahh, Lewisberry [part two]

On trash day in Lewisberry, pizza boxes jut boldly out of trash cans waiting to be taken to their final destination. Their inflexible corners stretch black trash bags beyond their limit, leaving holes and issuing an invitation to all prowling creatures: come and get it.

If Lewisberry has an official food, it's the pie of all pies that's not really a pie. With one pizzeria for every 29.2 households, tomato sauce and extra sausage are the bread and butter of this community.

I'll never forget the first pizza I ever ordered as a Lewisberrian. It was a chilly, damp evening in late March, and my shoes were covered in the soggy wallpaper bits I'd been tearing off the walls of our new home (goodbye cabbage roses and stripes; hello taupe #04).

When they're not grabbing a pizza--or one of Rock-It Pizza's famous cheesesteaks that take the average eater three days to consume--Lewisberrians grill. It is never too cold, too blustery, or even too rainy to grill, and the aromas of hickory and lightly charred chicken fill the streets almost every weekend.

The Silver Lake Inn--which just reopened in July--runs specials like "25-cent wing night" and "all you can eat shrimp," but as I haven't yet visited that curiously decorated venue, I have little to say about it except that it scares me to death.

For the budget- and nutrition-conscious who cannot live on pizza and ribs alone, there's the Manorette--L.H. Gross Manorette, to be precise--which carries a surprisingly large variety of lard products and canned beans in bulk. The Manorette (well, actually, the locals usually call it "Gross's") is also the perfect place to pick up the essentials--cigarettes, lottery tickets, chewing tobacco, and ice cream.

I stop by the Manorette once a month or so, usually in somewhat of a frenzy because I've already started dinner or baking cookies, and just realized we're out of some staple ingredient like eggs, milk, or cumin. I've never fit in well at the Manorette; all the other customers and employees know each other "from way back," and I'm just a newbie. I wouldn't even be suprised if they see me as a yuppie, because in comparison to them, I am. Owing to my aversion to NASCAR t-shirts and mullets, I don't look like them, and since we didn't go to high school together, the Manorette's customers and employees and I don't have much of a connection.

Or at least, we didn't--until last week, when I was actually engaged in conversation by a customter and employee who recognized me as "the woman who walks her dog all the time in any kind of weather."

And now, I'm finally a Lewisberrian.

[Note: Images added 12.19.2006]

To be continued . . .

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Rockin' the tilde

That's right, unlike most of you who fear to venture into the wilderness of the upper-lefthand corner of your keyboard, I am a frequent tilde user.

A week ago or so, an incredulous-looking individual asked me, "What on earth would you ever use it for?"

I just smiled and replied, "I have my reasons."

"Well, I guess you probably use it for typing Spanish words, right? I mean, that's probably how you make the 'ñ.'"

"Nope," I answered. "For that I use Alt + Num Lock + 164."


The tilde (though I admit, it can be a little too girlie) is perhaps the only character of whimsy that appears on modern western keyboards. It's a free spirit, untamed and somewhat impractical--which is why it's been banished to the far reaches of the keyboard with dangerous characters like Esc.

The tilde is truly alone in its status as a diacritical mark. I mean, the other marks may carry with them an air of sophistication--for instance, even though he is like, the most awesome philosopher ever, no one would look at Søren Kierkegaard the same if he didn't have that slash through the "o" in his name. Most diacritics have the general effect (besides advising pronunciation) of wearing a pair of very artsy, european, dark-rimmed glasses.

But the tilde . . . it defies sophistication. It's too curvy and fun to fit in with the starkness of the other diacritics. And it would seem that just about everybody wants to use the tilde for something. According to wikipedia, it's really quite the popular symbol, despite its lonely position on the keyboard.

So the next time you wonder why such a useless character is taking up space next to your oh-so-practical numbers, remember this: it's the only fun key we've got. On my keyboard at least, the ratio of fun characters to boring ones is 1:103. Now come on, don't you think we can spare the room?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Ahh, Lewisberry [part one]

I didn’t always live in Lewisberry. Which, I guess, is what sets me apart from my fellow Lewisberrians more than anything else. It’s a quirky town, just large enough to be called a town and small enough that it only takes a few years to get acquainted with it.

Most people know it as the home of the only half-decent downhill ski resort in the area, which makes use of the unusually high hills and ridges that are so characteristic of Lewisberry. Rising high above the valleys surrounding the Susquehanna River and Yellow Breeches Creek, Lewisberry’s heights (which should not be confused with Lewisberry Heights, which of course, would be the name of the town’s ghetto row homes, if it had them) are thickly wooded, dotted with relaxed homes built within the last 20 years.

From my house, I have a wonderful view of those heights—which, of course, is because I’m not on them. We live in the rain gutter—I mean, valley—of Lewisberry, where mist descends on an almost daily basis, shrouding the rippling fields and farms in mystery. It’s on account of the mist that Lewisberry mornings are so ethereal—a word that one could never use to describe Lewisberry at any other time of day.

On cool, damp mornings, when we gaze out over our back fence, beyond mist-blanketed crops of soybeans and corn, a line of distant trees are silhouetted against the tangerine sunrise. On mornings like these, Lewisberry seems a very philosophical town—one cannot help but think lofty thoughts when driving through the peach mist on the way to work.

And then there are afternoons. And they’re not philosophical at all.

To be continued . . .

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

What's weirder than going out to dinner with bishops?

I don't know.

But somehow, despite 40 years' difference in age and culture, we actually had fun over many courses of Chinese food.

Still, Toronto is nothing like home . . . no husband to spend the evening with; to understand me so perfectly, or share my unique (read: quirky) sense of humor with.

Right now, Katie and I are watching Fame, an amazingly bad show from 1982, the year we were born . . . good stuff to make fun of before bed, though, eh?

Goodnight from across the border.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Yeah, so I'm pretty much a boggle whiz

Lest you assume this hyper-consonantal configuration was rigged, I hereby provide photographic proof that this came up by chance* last night.

How many words can you find?

*This blogger understands that, in the current age of photoshoppable truth, there is no such thing as photographic proof, and so she solemnly swears that she is both committed to the truth and is also a complete Photoshop novice. No alterations, including superimposed figures of the Virgin Mary, manufactured smoke, or unauthorized use of the clone tool, were made to this pure, unadulterated photo. For your enjoyment, this photo is also crop-free.

Friday, September 08, 2006

When do I get a break?

Probably when I allow myself to take one, which I'm not good at, so oh well.

I feel depressed today--very down--and I know I'll bounce back, but for now I just feel sad. And tired. And terribly alone.

I've been getting things done at work (mostly putting out fires, it seems) but work feels pointless and I'm not quite sure what I'm looking forward to. This whole anticipation thing seems to be the key to my well-being most of the time, and I'm pretty sure that's not a good thing. It seems that I always have to have something I'm looking forward to--a vacation, a date with Mr. Incredible, a day off, whatever. And while I think it's healthy to live in joyful anticipation, it's probably not good that I sink into depression when I can't think of something to look forward to.

Well, that's enough blogtherapy for today. If I keep going I'll have to pay you by the hour to read my thoughts. And I just don't have that kind of capital.

I'll just leave you with the lyrics from one of my new favorite songs:

On the radio | Regina Spektor

this is how it works
it feels a little worse
and when we drove our hearse
right through that screaming crowd
while laughing up a storm
until we were just bone
until it got so warm
that none of us could sleep

then all the styrofoam
began to melt away
we tried to find some worms
to aid in the decay
but none of them were home
inside their catacomb
a million ancient bees
began to sting our knees

while we were on our knees
praying that disease
would leave the ones we love
and never come again
and on the radio
we heard november rain
the solo's really long
but it's a pretty song
we listened to it twice
cause the dj was asleep

this is how it works
you're young until you're not
you love until you don't
you try until you can't
you laugh until you cry
you cry until you laugh
and everyone must breathe
until their dying breath

this is how it works
you peer inside yourself
you take the things you like
and try to love the things you took
and then you take that love you made
and stick it into some--
someone else's heart
pumping someone else's blood

and walking arm in arm
you hope it don't get harmed
but even if it does
you'll just do it all again
on the radio
you hear november rain
that solo's awful long
but it's a nice refrain
you listen to it twice
cause the dj is asleep
on the radio...