Friday, March 20, 2009


So, back after a bit of a sabbatical. I check out (of my life) once in a while, usually in conjunction with a change in one of my dosages. This month's sojourn has been an obsessive interest in 1st century BC near east politics and the finer points of the end of the Hasmonean dynasty in Israel, and the rise of the Herodians, pursuing the Messianic story in terms of the wars of succession. Imagine my delight when I discovered that the entire text of Josephus' Antiquities of the Jews (c. 90 AD) and Dio Cassius' Roman histories, all 88 books, or a least the extant fragments (c.220 AD) online!
So much fun! Who wouldn't want to spend 10 hours a day reading this stuff!

manic episode....
Its a sign that the meds do help, that I have not embarked on learning Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, Persian, Arabic, and Latin,
right. this. minute...
because who can do primary research on this otherwise, right? Even though Dad volunteered his Greek textbooks, when he heard how excited I was about this stuff.
I thought about it.
In some ways, the internet is a blessing, because it provides enough sublimation that someone in my state of mind doesn't buy plane tickets, hire an archeological crew and hop the next flight to Lebanon. On the other hand, it allows someone in my state of mind to have 24 hour access to things that perhaps would be better left unread by someone in my state of mind.
Tigrrrl is cranky because I haven't been paying her much attention, and The Him is cranky because I haven't been very diligent about her schoolwork for the past two weeks, and I'm not doing the dishes or cooking dinner very often, and I'm not paying him much attention either, and I'm getting cranky because they're cranky, and because I'm deeply resentful that they just don't get it, can they not stop interrupting me every three to six hours? That if I wanted to say, eat, or sleep, I would? Could someone else not cook dinner this...year?
So I'm taking a break.
Let me share a few happy moments that emerged amid the wreckage of history.

Effervescent moment#1:
Tigrrrrl turned 11 on Friday (the 13th. No lie). We held a party on Saturday for several friends. The theme: Fairies.

My neighbor Robin does beyoooootiful delicious cakes, so we collaborated and created this magnificent fairy-themed testament to the baking arts:

And guess what : I MADE THAT DRAGON!
(I bought the little fairy figures, however. There are limits.)

Effervescent moment #2:

I left poor benighted Hyrcanus in the hands of Herod and Antigonus, and betook myself to the grocery store, where I discovered that Spring is verily upon us. Heralded by my favorite explosion of seasonal color. No, not daffodils, nor azaleas -- though their blooming has always seemed to me akin to fireworks, explosions on an herbal time-scale. To be my favorite, the harbinger of spring must of course be edible.

The Peeps have hatched, encamped on grocery shelves soon to advance rank upon rank into our homes, our Easter baskets, and our mouths. There are more colors of Peeps every year. I love Peeps. The delicate crunch of the sugar coating, the sweet, yielding marshmallow goodness. But I love also the personality of Peeps, although it is an iconic, a collective personality. There are no individuals, only The Peep. The shape, the posture, the hint of facial features, combine to imply resigned humor, tinged with irony or perhaps vague irritation.
"Bring it," they seem to say. And they wink knowingly.

When I saw them I became happy. I ran over to the shelves where the legions were arrayed and said, "peeeeps!" in a very tiny, happy, high-pitched voice. And then I got embarrassed, and wondered if anyone was looking at me.

I gathered my ration and slunk away, wondering. That little exclamation had been compelling and irrepressible. I couldn't not say it. I wanted to say it some more: "peeps! peeeeeps! peeeeps!"

It was the Peep Imperative.

I was familiar with this compulsion in a different form. The Him and I have for quite a while been aware of the Moo Imperative, that compulsion to bellow "mooOOOOOOOoo" at every cow I see. (Usually when I'm in a mooooooving car. I can't see them from planes, for which my fellow passengers no doubt thank their blessed stars). The Meow Imperative? Well, more accurately the Urgent Meow. Not quite a compulsion. There is no Woof Imperative that I'm aware of, which is a good thing since I have so many dogs. Its possible that I woof a lot, but I'm likely to just view it as conversation, so its hard to tell.
No, that's disingenuous; I do woof quite a lot, and it is conversation.

I guess all these imperatives, manic or otherwise, are a little odd, but they seem harmless. Other than making me a bit furtive at the grocery store, they don't seem to impede my living, in fact they're pleasurable. Like greeting friends.

Back to Josephus and Cassius Dio.

Shut up. I've already started dinner, and the dryer is running.



  1. Hilarious. I loved the stuff about the Peeps so much I'll be forwarding this post.

    And nice work on the dragon! WOW!

  2. I must bow to the greatness of your manic endeavors. Jo-fuckin-sephus! I can't even begin to tell you that I have read such succulent histories, filled with intrigue and interest. My, my! All I can really say is that I think I've finally figured out why the Messiah had to come to that time period. Because it was so incredibly screwy. So warped with it's (dare I say it?) manic quest for land and land and land and wealth and land and slaves and land. It needed a messiah. (Well, OK, he came for Israel, but Israel more or less missed the punch line and ... the Romans ended up with him.) But more, the whole of western civilization, which was to embrace the messiah, followed the lead of the Roman Empire and continued it's quest to be the New Rome, never letting the sun set on it's... etc. etc. No. Jesus didn't come to China. They didn't need him. The Europeans did. And then we formed America so we could have some more land and land and land and slaves and land and wealth and land. And by golly, the messiah was a big hit here too! Too bad we don't have a clue what he was really trying to do.

    As for peeps... all I can say is, Hmmm. I'm fairly convinced that somewhere in my past I ate like a MILLION peeps and then threw them up in spectacular technicolor. Because I hate them. I'll admit that it's been a while and perhaps I should try again. But they do not call to me. The repel me. Nevertheless, I now know what to give you for Easter.

    This was a wonderful post, well written! Can't wait for the next.
    (Love the pic of the damsel in the claws of Herod the Bad Boy. Happens every night in my dreams.)

    May I entice you to "peep" at my blog for this week? It isn't mine. It's Little Bird's. I thought it was quite funny.

  3. Never mind about my Birdie's post. It was bogus. False alarm. I mean, you can look anyhow if you want. But I took her (NOT) thing off.

  4. Your post is alive with fluorescent green!

    I'm a Cadbury Mini-Egg girl myself.