Not So Lonely, After All

Roberto Severino just reminded me that I’m not completely lonely because I always have my blog readers.

Thank you, dear blog readers, you are wonderful people and I love you all.

Lonely and Sad

When N. left for a conference in Florida for 3 days, I thought I would have some single-woman fun in his absence. What a great opportunity to do everything I can’t do when he is around! Like eating a ton of garlic, cooking nothing but borscht, and watching films in bed until 4 am. I can always watch films when he is around, of course, but not in bed because at night he sleeps there.

So I made a bucketful of borscht, ate so much garlic that I’m sure people in St. Louis can smell it, and watched 4 of my favorite films in a row. But I don’t feel at all happy. Actually, I feel sad. And lonely. This is weird because I was happy when I was single. What happened to me all of a sudden? Where did single-woman happiness go?

I will now go eat some more garlic.


I think that everybody who is taking part in the Pastagate – on either side – should go find some work to do. Seriously, folks, this is all so trivial that it’s a shame to waste one’s life on that. Pasta is for eating, not for debating, tweeting and organizing political action.

In case you haven’t heard of Montreal’s Pastagate, here is a link:

Buonanotte restaurant, located in French-speaking Quebec, Canada, recently came under fire for using the words “pasta” and “calamari” on its menu, reports CBC. The reason? The words aren’t paired with French translations on the menu, and that’s a problem for Quebec’s office of French language (OQLF).

CBC reported that the restaurant’s owner, Massimo Lecas, was told by authorities that Italian words such as “bottiglia,” “pasta” and “antipasto” should all have a French translation on the menu. He also claimed that he was told to translate the Italian words for meatball and calamari into French.

My Facebook thread looks like all of my friends are completely obsessed with pasta.





Worldwide for thousands of years? Really?

In the Meanwhile. . .

. . . N is writing from Florida:


“Marco Island Marriott exploits the beauty of nature to attract guests. . .


. . . and then uses the unmitigated ugliness of art to scare them away.


But at least the desserts are nice.”

N. and I are both in our ideal scenarios: I’m snowed in with a plate of borscht and he is on a beach with a plate of pastries. But neither of us is happy because we miss each other too much.

Why Can’t It Always Be This Way?

It only took 3,5 years for me to see real snow in Southern Illinois. Almost as long as it took me to learn to pronounce the word Southern the way they do it around here.


I’m using this opportunity to walk in the snow:


This is so enjoyable that I can’t believe I only get a chance to do it once a year.


I just hope the neighbors don’t call mental health services for me.

The Big Snow


Since early morning, the phone has been ringing, the text messages have been coming in, “The Big Snow is on its way!” People from other continents are writing, “Heard the snow is coming! Stay safe!” The university has been closed down, and I’m staying home, working on my article and making borscht with chorizo. And before you laugh, remember that the Portuguese are very proud of their cabbage soup with chourico. Isn’t it time Ukrainian cuisine go global?

Classics Club #11: Francois Mauriac’s Vipers’ Tangle

The cover of my old and battered copy of Francois Mauriac’s novel Vipers’ Tangle declares it to be “one of the greatest Catholic novels of all times.” I didn’t find anything remotely Catholic in the novel and liked it immensely.

Louis and Isa are born to families of different social standing. Louis comes from a line of peasants who suddenly managed to enrich themselves while Isa’s family has aristocratic pretensions. However, they are both stunted in their development by their controlling, overbearing, helicoptering parents who see their children as objects whose only purpose in life is to enrich their birth families.

Of course, when these two emotionally stunted beings get married, the marriage proves to be a disaster. Louis and Isa are incapable of loving anybody or of simply discussing things. Instead, they torture each other with silence that masks endless petty grievances they accumulate over time. Louis turns all of his energy and passion to his adoration of money. Money is all he can think about and the terror of what will happen to his money after his death drives him to distraction. Isa entertains herself with fake Catholicism that masks a vicious and obsessive anti-Semitism and an intense hatred of her younger sister and the sister’s small son.

As a result of such a miserable existence, at the age of 65, both Louis and Isa feel and look ancient. Misery and hatred has sapped their energy and brought them to the brink of death. Their children are as emotionally dead and obsessed with money, anti-Semitism and hatred as their parents.

Only when one of the miserable spouses dies, does the surviving one get a chance to recover some humanity that this horrible marriage has all but destroyed.

This is a powerful novel, and I’m glad I had it on my Classics Club list.