Sunday, April 29, 2018

There is little to report. I am still feeling weak and slightly nauseous, although no longer being treated by a doctor for anything. My goat’s milk kefir is here, and I love it. The first bottle I opened was not explosive, but I will continue to approach them all with caution. The idea is to drink a glass of it first thing in the morning so that it will descend forthwith to the gut and get to work on the microbiome. It’s all right to go on drinking it through the day, but it’s expensive, so I won’t.

Catmum, I’m not a tea-drinker so I don’t think kombucha is going to be my thing. I will get some at the supermarket this week, if they have it, but won’t embark on making it.

Janet and Mary Lou, one of the great things about cookery on YouTube is that you soon discover that different people have different ways of doing things. Once I’ve got my things together, I think I’ll start with Jamie Oliver’s kimchi recipe, because I’m fond of him. I’ve scarcely moved from my easy chair these last few days, but I did nip down to Tesco’s yesterday and the Post Office seized the opportunity to leave one of those “We tried to deliver…” cards. Kimchi equipment already?

I have done some knitting. I have done the simple arithmetic, and cast on the 2nd attempt at a Calcutta Cup vest. I did it Gudrun’s way, alternating 2 long-tails with 2 twisted Germans. I intended to join it at once – I have festooned it with safety pins, in the hopes of preventing the fatal twist. That’s a tip I read somewhere recently. But I discovered when I was 20 stitches into the round that I had done it the familiar way through force of habit – turning back on myself, leaving the ends unconnected. I didn’t frog it.

Non-knit, and completely irrelevant

I found myself thinking, the other evening, as one does, of a girl who was in my year at Asbury Park High School. Her name was Thalia Heliotis. She was beautiful, and much admired, and we didn’t move in the same circles. I remember very few other names from those years, but that one stuck. I remember hearing somehow that she had had a spectacular Greek Orthodox wedding not long after graduating from high school.

I googled her, expecting nothing, but there she is. Her husband died a few years ago, and her maiden name is mentioned in his obituary. They had 63 years, which is pretty good going.

The odd thing, though, is that Google also found a picture of her in the Asbury Park Press in the spring of 1949, our junior year. A picture with me, along with three other people whose names mean nothing to me now. Some sort of cake sale? Thalia and I seem to be buying or selling something. I cannot now imagine any extracurricular activity which would have brought us together. You have to subscribe to read the caption of the picture in full, and I doubt if it would help.

“Thalia” is one of the nine muses. I didn’t know that at the time. It’s a beautiful name.


  1. Anonymous9:00 PM

    I too went to school with a Thalia. She was a very clever,and unusual(in a good way)girl. It does make you wonder if a name can somehow affect you.


  2. Anonymous9:43 PM

    I had to look.

    “CANDY SALES The Asbury Park high school Latin club, which sponsors many activities during the school year, recently added to its treasury by conducting a candy sale in the corridors of the school. Jean Smits and Connie Shields are making the sales in this picture, while Shirley Seigle and Thalia Heliotis are the happy purchaser. Bill Kwalcik seems undecided.”

    Beverly in NJ

  3. Latin Club! How perfect. I love looking at cooking how-to on the internet, especially food that is not part of my upbringing. Indian food is especially good for many different ways to make basic dishes. "Always tomato." "Never tomato."

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  5. Kombucha doesn't taste like tea (or at least not any I've ever had). It might give you a bit of an alcohol buzz though, it does me.

  6. Anonymous3:01 PM

    I believe names do affect you. I am currently researching my family tree and descendants born in the 1880s. Almost all born to Durham coalminers and almost all marrying Durham coal miners. Except one girl named Pansy whose name stood out to me as being very different to all the others. She did indeed live a very colourful life moving first to Yorkshire, marrying a Spinner in Bradford and then remarrying a middle class hotelier and RAF officer whose father was a surgeon. They had a hotel in Truro, Cornwall and sailed to New Zealand and back. At some point she renamed herself to Patricia.

  7. knitalot, I can certainly see how preconceptions about certain names (I tend to think of Susans as dependable for example, no idea why) could influence a kid growing up. Be interesting to see if there's been any studies on the matter.

    As someone with a very rare name (no, not Melfina, that's my internet alias) with a very common analogue, I learned to be very forgiving about correcting people. (It's Ah-lean-ah, not Ah-lane-ah, damn it, and nope, not spelled that way, that's the way I say those two names as an American.)
    I've seen another kid with a rare name (and even rarer nickname) blow his top any time anyone gets it the slightest bit wrong. And then there's nicknames. My mom was Bunny (and still is to some family) but dropped it when Playboy became a thing, but my aunt actually changed her name to her nickname Katie->Kitty. Is it the name you're given first that influences you the most, or the one you get called the most? I have no idea, but one piece of advice from painful painful experience... don't ever, ever name a gadget after a villain.

    1. Anonymous4:43 PM

      Haha! The RAF officer cum hotelier in my story had been married before to a woman with the surname of Bunney.

    2. My mom's nickname comes from the fact that she was the firstborn and for the first bit of her life she was "the baby." When my grandmother got pregnant again and Mom hit the terrible twos, this had to change and one of my grandmother's friends decided she looked like a bunny.

  8. Kombucha definitely does not taste like regular brewed tea, and there are many flavors available now. The ginger one tastes rather like ginger ale, with a bit more kick. My favorite is the elderberry