Mmmm, brains.

It’s not what you think.

We had our office holiday lunch today at Bistro d’Oc.[1]
Brains were on special.
I got to say to Johanna, “Do you want to split some brains?” to which she replied, “Yeah, that would be great”–not one of your more usual conversations, I think you’ll agree. (Well, outside the context of a zombie invasion, obviously.)
They were lamb brains with lemon and capers and noisette butter, and they were a fine thing indeed.
Johanna cheerfully admits to suggesting Bistro d’Oc for the holiday lunch “because they serve offal.” I was most impressed that several of our less-culinarily-adventurous coworkers tried a little bit of brains (“Can I taste your brains?”). I don’t think they’ll ever order them on purpose, but they didn’t spit them out or anything. (Hilariously, later in the meal, I did have to spit out a little bit of fig spread. I’m twitchy about figs at the best of times, and I was expecting it to be tapenade. Blick.)

[1] I’m kind of mystified by the online reviews of Bistro d’Oc, many of which are savage. We had a 12-person holiday lunch (reservations for 14, but two couldn’t make it). When we arrived, the room was set up with two tables–one of 6 and one of 8. Our executive director asked the waiter if he could rearrange the tables so we could all sit together. He did so. He recommended gorgeous and inexpensive wines and described them accurately. He knew what went into everything on the menu. It’s a bistro, and it does it well. It’s not a high-end haute cuisine celebrity chef experience, but if you know your charcuterie and succulent cheeses and duck confit, it’s good for what ails you . I feel as though a lot of the reviewers don’t understand what a French bistro is; either they don’t like French food, or they were actually looking for a bar.

New respect for flying rats

Yesterday on my walk I noticed an explosion of pigeon feathers on the lawn of the Ellipse. It wasn’t gory, but it was impressive. Definitely a whole pigeon’s worth. “Huh,” thought I, “I wonder what’s hunting the pigeons?” Red-tail hawk was my first thought. Then mere minutes later as I was crossing the Washington Monument grounds, I had my answer: Two birds came haring into my field of vision, right on top of each other, flying all rickety in what looked like close formation, until one veered off suddenly to safety among a little copse of (I think) old cherry trees, and the other swooped up to take a scanning perch on a much taller tree at the edge of the lawn. Not a red-tail; a peregrine falcon. Very pointy. Wings almost like a seagull at first glance. Knowing that a pigeon can outmaneuver a peregrine in (pretty much) level flight gives me new respect for pigeons.


While taking my pulses this morning, my Chinese doctor asked me if I had a cold. “Mmmaybe,” said I. “Not a cold, I don’t think. Just the sniffles.”
During my lunchtime walk I was meditating cheerfully on the pleasingness of the expression “the sniffles”. All onomatopoeiac and quaint, like “the ague.” Plus it’s fun to say. Sniffles.
Now I’m pretty sure I do have a cold. All kinds of sneezing and nose-blowing and itchy throat. Booooo. But good on him for being able to tell me I had a cold eight hours in advance of me becoming aware of it.

Disappearing Ducks!

They’re gone.
All the ducks in Lafayette Park are gone.
The grounds-crew there is in the process of cleaning out the eastern pond, presumably as part of Inauguration Day preparations (which are messing with my lunchtime walk bigtime).
The pond is empty.
I want to know where the ducks went.

Ducklings, hope, and gambling

There are ducks in Lafayette Park. I am looking cheerfully forward to the spring, when I imagine there will be ducklings.

My favorite thing about the election results is that I feel they are a triumph for hope over fear, for optimism over doomsaying, and for dreams over nightmares.

My least favorite thing about the election results is that Maryland voters approved the slot machine referendum. I’ve been getting gradually more disapproving about gambling, including lotteries and slot machines. I feel like they are an amusement for the rich and a tax for the poor. Since much of the slot machine revenues are supposed to go into school coffers, I hope the schools teach kids enough math that they grow up to never risk their grocery money on slots.


At acupuncture this morning my Chinese doctor said I was “very compliant.” I initially let it pass, but honestly I was a bit hurt. Crestfallen. Insulted, even. Compliant, me? No! I am belligerent and sturdy! Compliance is weak and sheeplike. I object to being expected to comply with things, because so often the things I’m complying with make no practical sense and have no positive effect. Compliance to me implies complicity, tacit acceptance of a corrupt and/or irrational system.
So I asked him what he meant, and said “Oh–I meant that you’re not doing this halfway. You’re actually following my suggestions very thoroughly. I said to eat fish, rice, and vegetables for a week, and that’s what you’ve done–you didn’t give up after three days because you really wanted a burger.”
“Oh,” said I, mollified. “That’s not compliance. That’s commitment.”

Walk today

2.0656 miles, according to gmaps pedometer (which, FYI, has a really old satellite photo; it’s from before Pennsylvania Avenue was closed to traffic, which happened in 1995).
Saw a white squirrel with a dark undercoat.
There are no mailboxes in that 2 miles, but there are at least 4 water fountains.